DALLAS -- If all good things must end, then surely all-time great things are on the clock as well -- and on Friday night, in the Final Four, the clock on the Connecticut women’s amazing, ridiculous, truly mind-boggling 111-game win streak finally stopped ticking.
Mississippi State 66, UConn 64 in overtime.
And the game was every bit as wild as that score, with that kind of streak and a national title game berth on the line, would indicate. Mississippi State raced out to a 16-point lead. UConn, of course, stormed back. And then, in a moment that will be playing on highlight reels for as long as any of us will live, the Bulldogs’ Morgan William, the tiniest player on the court, hit the biggest shot of her life -- a pull-up, buzzer-beating jumper that sent a shock wave through the entire sports landscape.
“No one in the country thought that could happen,” said Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer. “We beat the greatest team with the greatest streak in the history of sports.”
You can say that again.
Again, for as long any of us live, we will, in all likelihood, never see a stretch of dominance like the one we’ve spent the last three years watching UConn contruct. That it’s over is still unfathomable. And yet, throughout this season there were signs that the impossible -- otherwise known as a a Huskies loss -- was at least possible.
This was not one of those UConn teams we’ve grown accustomed to that just absolutely pounded everything in front of them. Sure, they were undefeated to this point. But there are no obvious all-time greats on this team. no Maya Moores. No Diani Taurasis. No Rebecca Lobos. The Huskies were pushed, for real, a handful of times. And it finally happened.
So Mississippi State is on to the national title game. The Bulldogs are a hell of a team that just played a hell of game, and for that they deserve all the praise one can heap onto a team that nobody gave a chance. But this was, is, still Connecticut’s night. It is a night to remember. A night to appreciate. A night to tell grandkids about.
The night the team that stood on top for longer than anyone could’ve ever imagine, finally fell.