If you weren’t watching the UConn/Mississippi State Women’s NCAA basketball game last night, what were you doing? Seriously. The game had everything you could ask for – intensity, drama, bad calls by the referees, and maybe even a little flopping. Making it one for the record books. But not just for that reason. The big headline is that Mississippi State defeated UConn after a 111 game winning streak by the Huskies. Everything in this article can be summarized with just one word – impressive. Everything about this situation was impressive.
If you didn’t tune in, the game was relatively uneventful until the fourth quarter. I say uneventful as it was your basic, run of the mill basketball game. Until it wasn’t. Mississippi State was leading for most of the game, making it seem like the upset was inevitable. However, UConn pulled ahead to turn things around. Ultimately, the score was tied, sending the game into overtime. I could not believe the excitement in my house. My boyfriend had turned into one of the coaches, shouting plays at the TV.
So what makes this game impressive? For starters, Mississippi State was the underdog in this scenario. Having lost to UConn in the tournament last year by 60 points, they had something to prove. They had the number “60” in their head as a way to motivate them to do better this year. And better they did. Further, no one really expected them to win because of UConn’s impressive winning streak. No other team in NCAA history has had such a lengthy winning streak. Defeating their own streak of 90 consecutive wins from 2008-2011.
Let’s break down the numbers here for a second:
- 867: Days between UConn losses. Starting back in 2014.
- 61:Victories by at least 40 points.
- 38:Consecutive road victories during the stretch.
- 23:More wins than the men’s record. The UCLA men’s team, led by coach John Wooden, won 88 straight games from 1970-74. UConn now has two separate win streaks that surpass that total.
- 9:Wins over top five opponents. The Huskies beat then-No. 2 Baylor, then-No. 2 Notre Dame and then-No. 4 Maryland this season alone.
- 2: National titles won during streak. The Huskies have reached 10 consecutive Final Fours and won four straight championships from 2012-16.
And again, what makes this so impressive? Mississippi State was extremely close to ending the game, but was prevented by a block from UConn. Which ultimately sent the game into over time. It was so very close to ending in a rather “normal” way. Those kinds of plays happen all the time. UConn’s block bought them so more time, but not enough to finish off the game. The crowd was absolutely insane at the game. Literally pulling on their hair. Unable to handle the excitement and anticipation.
Ultimately, UConn was defeated as Morgan Williams nailed the shot to win the game. She barely beat the buzzer. Hence making it a buzzer beating shot. And she only stands at 5’5″. Also incredible. I’m not saying you have to be tall to play basketball, but I think those with height have a better advantage than those who are vertically challenged. But not in this case. She proved herself as a contender over and over again in this game.
Overall, the game proved to be impressive. I tend to cheer for the underdog in a lot of cases. But especially with college sports. In professional sports, we often see the same 3 or 4 teams winning. Just rotating who wins and what year. The players jump from one team to another in the hopes of winning a championship. And I can’t blame them, but it doesn’t make for very interesting sports. And who wants to watch that? For example, I’m less likely to watch the NBA Championships if it’s going to be another Cleveland/Golden State match up. I’ve seen it. I know how it ends. In both scenarios. So it’s nice to see a team that is discounted or underestimated go onto win the game.
Yes, they still have another game to play, but this win was amazing nonetheless. And even if they don’t win on Sunday, last night’s game will go down in the history books for sure.