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Mar 26, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs forward Breanna Richardson (3) hugs Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs guard Morgan William (2) after defeating the Baylor Bears in the finals of the Oklahoma City Regional of the women's 2017 NCAA Tournament at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State Clinches First Women’s Final Four in School History

Mississippi State women’s basketball clinched its first trip to the Final Four with its 94-85 overtime win over Baylor. The win was thanks in large part to a historic performance from the Bulldogs point guard Morgan William.

Meaningful Performance

Bulldogs guard Morgan William struggled mightily during the team’s tournament run, shooting a combined 25 percent from the field. William was at the arena early Sunday morning to try and get her shot back. This ended up paying off for William, who had the best game of her career. She totaled a career high of 41 points and came up clutch for the Bulldogs down the stretch. She hit a running layup with 22.6 seconds remaining to tie the game and converted a monumental three with two minutes left in overtime to extend the Bulldog lead to five. This performance led William to tears after the game because it came a day after the three year anniversary of when her stepfather died of a heart attack. William was named the Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.

Costly Mistakes for Baylor

Turnovers proved costly for Baylor throughout the game Sunday. The Lady Bears committed 20 turnovers that turned into seventeen points for the Bulldogs. Two of those turnovers were at crucial points in the game for Baylor. With 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Baylor guard Kristy Wallace was in-bounding and tried to get the ball to power forward Kalani Brown for a shot to win the game. Once the ball was in-bounded, the pass was tipped away by Bulldog center Teaira McCowan. The ball was then picked up by Morgan William, who chucked the ball at half court to run out the clock. Then, down by five with 32 seconds remaining, Baylor turned it over again on a botched pass from guard Alexis Jones. This essentially ended the chances of a Baylor comeback. Turnovers were the difference, especially because Mississippi State only turned it over four times.

What’s Next?

Mississippi State now awaits the winner of the Bridgeport Regional Final in the Final Four. The Bulldogs will face either the undefeated UConn Huskies or the tenth seeded Oregon Ducks in Dallas. If the Bulldogs play the Huskies in the National Semi-Final, this will be the second year in a row the two will play in the Tournament. UConn embarrassed Mississippi State 98-38 in last year’s Sweet 16.

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