For 111 consecutive games, the UConn Women’s Basketball team were unstoppable, and then March 31 happened.
Heading into the Final Four, Connecticut was more than the odds on favorite to cut down the nets once again this season. They had taken on all comers the past four years and every “challenge” that experts said would give them trouble simply fell by the waste side as they would continue to assert their dominance. One of these “challenges” was of the team they would play on this day, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who in last year’s Sweet 16 lost to the Huskies by 60 points. Not only was it the biggest defeat in tournament history, but it was also one of the many reasons why women’s college basketball had become an afterthought. People knew Connecticut was going to win and win big, so why even watch?
This time around, it might have been the same Connecticut team but they were facing an entirely different Mississippi State team.
This team was battle-tested in the SEC and the experience of losing to UConn in such a huge way last year was all the fuel they needed for this season. Unlike many teams, they wanted to face the Huskies and exact their revenge on the team that had embarrassed them on the national stage last year. This year, they were ready for war and led by their unquestioned leader in Morgan William, they knew that they were ready.
A game that the Bulldogs took control of for its majority, the Huskies actually had to come back multiple times in order to force the game into overtime. In Overtime, more of the same occurred as the team’s went back and forth… and then the moment came that would shake the basketball world.
With 12.3 seconds left, the Bulldogs had possession with the game time and destiny within their grasp. They broke the huddle and if you were watching the game, you knew who was going to get the ball for the last shot. Having to advance the ball the length of the floor, the Huskies applied a full court press and double teamed William on the inbound to deny her the call. The Bulldogs passed the ball in and advanced it past half court, desperately looking to get the ball into the hands of William who was being denied. Finally, with 5.5 seconds left, she received the ball near half court, took two dribbles to her left, crossed over at the free throw line, came to a jump stop and from the right elbow let the mid-range jumper fly into the air as all eyes were on the trajectory of the ball. As it was in flight, the clock expired and soon thereafter, the shot from Heaven fell through the basket to the roar of the crowd and the dejected looks upon the faces of possibly one of the greatest basketball teams we will ever see. After the shot fell in, William turned around towards the crowd, puffed out her chest and with the utmost confident look on her face was mobbed by her teammates… they did it. They took down the giant on the shoulders and shot of their 5’5 leader.
Everything that happened last year was sudden devoid from their minds as they defeated history through one of the greatest shots in tournament history. With this basket, they ended the single greatest winning streak in the history of sports. It’s the basket that ended it all.
What were your feelings about the last second shot made by Morgan William? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.