One of the greatest games in the history of college basketball. A buzzer beater to win it all — it can’t get much better than that. Women’s college basketball fans have to remember the final four matchup, in 2017, between the Connecticut Huskies and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It was incredible.
Going into the game, the Huskies held an unbelievable 111-game win streak that dated back to 2014, when their last defeat came from the Stanford Cardinals. Nobody believed the Huskies were leaving the season without a national championship.
The UConn culture is built around winning, and when that did not happen this time it came as a surprise to everyone. Connecticut has dominated the sport throughout the years, and leading up to this game they won a total of 11 national championships. From 2013-2016 they recorded four straight.
Many fans can recall that just a year before, in 2016, the two teams faced each other and UConn won with a 60 point margin. The Bulldogs were embarrassed by this defeat and were looking to get revenge over the number one seed in 2017. In the locker room before the rematch the Bulldogs even had the number “60” to remind them of the loss.
Mississippi State was the number two seed in the tournament and defeated a number one seed, the Baylor Lady Bears, to reach the final four. UConn breezed their way to the final four beating the Oregon Ducks by 38 points. UConn was steady looking for a national championship and they never turned back.
The Bulldogs dominated the game from the jump and even had a 16 point lead over the defending champs. Victoria Vivians, Morgan Williams, Teaira McCowan and Breanna Richardson all recorded double digits. All of these players were persistent in reaching their first national championship in school history.
The Huskies were stacked with potential next level talent in Katie Lou Samuelson, Gabby Williams, Kia Nurse, Saniya Chong and Napheesa Collier. This is why many believed it would be hard to prevent them from winning it all.
UConn would trail until the last minute of the game where they tied it at 60 points. Morgan Williams would have a chance to win it, but she was blocked and UConn sent the game into overtime.
Although Williams didn’t make the shot to win the game in regulation, she would go on to make one of the biggest shots in college basketball history in overtime. With the game tied at 64 in the final seconds, Williams dribbled up to the right elbow and shot over an outstretched Gabby Williams to secure the win. Mississippi State players stormed the court and Morgan Williams walked away in shock.
UConn’s head coach Geno Auriemma couldn’t do anything but walk away and smile to congratulate head coach Vic Schaefer on winning. The surprise and determination of the Bulldogs and nail-biting nature of the game is what made it one of the greatest upsets in all of college basketball.