Teaira McCowan had 21 points and 25 rebounds to help Mississippi State reach the national championship game for the second straight year with a 73-63 overtime win over Louisville on Friday night. Down 3 points, Roshunda Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the score, 59-59, with seven seconds left in regulation. Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen then drove the length of the floor but missed a layup as time ran out with McCowan dogging her.
In overtime, the Bulldogs asserted themselves, and Morgan William, who hit the game-winning shot in overtime last year in the Final Four to end UConn’s 111-game winning streak, made two free throws in the last minute to help Mississippi State (37-1) pull away.
Louisville (36-3) managed just one basket on 10 shots in the extra period. Asia Durr scored 18 for Louisville (36-3), which was making its third appearance in the Final Four. Jazmine Jones added 15 in a game in which the lead changed 15 times.
“It was really tough,” Jones said. “They have great guards up and down their team. Victoria (Vivians), she’s a great player. She was an All-American. It was really tough guarding her. And their 3-point shooters, because they can spread out the floor while driving. So it was really tough tonight.”
The Cardinals won the ACC regular season and conference tournament for the first time in school history. They also earned the first No. 1 seed in program history, but couldn’t get shots to fall in OT or keep McCowan off the boards all night.
“What a great ballgame,” Walz said. “I mean, back and forth runs by both teams. It was a great ballgame. I thought we competed, we played our hearts out. I thought they played their hearts out.”
McCowan had 21 points and a Final Four-record 25 rebounds, Vivians scored 25 points, and Mississippi State reached the national championship game for the second straight year with a 73-63 OT win over Louisville on Friday night.
After Johnson’s jumper, Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen then drove the length of the floor but missed a layup with McCowan defending her.
The Bulldogs fell short after their upset of UConn last year, falling to South Carolina in the championship game.
McCowan, Mississippi State’s 6-foot-7 center, broke the rebounding mark set by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in 1994 when she grabbed her 24th rebound.
Asia Durr scored 18 for Louisville, which was making its third appearance in the Final Four. Jazmine Jones added 15.
The loss ended a wonderful season for Louisville, which won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and conference tournament for the first time in team history. The Cardinals also earned the first No. 1 seed in program history as well.