COLUMBUS, Ohio -- All througut the postseason, Mississippi State drillmaster Vic Schaefer said he didn't accept words for w he'd feel aback his four seniors, including babe Blair, had played their aftermost bold for the Bulldogs.
He begin the appropriate things to say now that it has happened. But they didn't accomplish him or anyone abroad on Mississippi State's ancillary feel any better. Because this accident was crushing. Up as abundant as 15 points, the Bulldogs fell 61-58 to Notre Dame on Arike Ogunbowale's last-second 3-pointer in the civic championship bold Sunday.
"The candor and the appearance of this aculation is article I've not seen," Schaefer said. "I'm appreciative to be their coach. I'm appreciative of their fight. They're activity to be so acknowledged in activity because of their grit, their determination, and w they embrace the bullwork of activity as able-bodied as the bullwork of basketball."
All true, but it did annihilation Sunday to affluence the bite of accident in the NCAA final for the additional year in a row. If there's any affairs that understands that feeling, tugh, it's Notre Dame. The Irish alert absent back-to-back finals in 2011-12 and in 2014-15. Tennessee absent two in a row in 2003-04. And cipher has had it worse than Auburn, which absent three championship amateur in a row in 1988-90.
Or you could attending at LSU, which went to the Women's Final Four bristles seasons in a row -- 2004-08 -- and absent in the semifinals anniversary time.
None of this, tugh, will advice the Bulldogs in the actual after-effects of a bold that they no agnosticism feel got abroad from them. Afterwards captivation Notre Dame to a season-low three credibility in the additional ision and demography a 30-17 halftime lead, they were outscored 44-28 in the additional half.
The Bulldogs absent alone alert this ision -- the added time was in the SEC clash final to South Carolina -- and both times were captivated in the 50s in scoring. Mississippi State captivated a five-point advance with 1 minute, 35 abnormal left, but again Marina Mabrey hit the Irish's aboriginal 3-pointer of the night.
A absence by Mississippi State centermost Teaira McCowan was followed by her fourth abrrent on the backlash attempt, and again Notre Dame's Jackie Young angry the account with a jump st. Another McCowan absence was followed by a Mabrey rebound, and again a corybantic arrangement that ultimately amount Mississippi State dearly.
At Notre Dame's end, Mabrey's canyon was baseborn by McCowan. She got the brawl to point bouncer Morgan William, w had abettor Victoria Vivians in advanced of her activity to the basket. Mabrey again chased afterwards William, ran into her and agape her to the attic but wasn't alleged for a foul.
In the process, William absent the ball, and it went to Young, w had two Irish players streaking against the basket. McCowan approved to block Young's canyon and hit her arm. It was beneath acquaintance than Mabrey had fabricated on William, but it was alleged for a foul, McCowan's fifth.
Arike Ogunbowale had struggled with her attempt all game, and Notre Dame's final comedy was advised for a teammate. So w did Ogunbowale, aplomb never wavering, end up hitting the greatest last-second attempt in championship bold history?
For the additional beeline game, Arike Ogunbowale hit the bold winner, this one with 0.1 abnormal left, as Notre Dame exhausted Mississippi State 61-58 to win the NCAA le. The injury-depleted Irish overcame a 15-point arrears to win the program's additional le.
The Notre Dame drillmaster got her players calmed down, foed and aback on clue at halftime to affected the better arrears in NCAA championship bold history.
Still, the Irish had to accomplish the game-winning attempt on an out-of-bounds comedy with three abnormal left, which they did.
"We didn't abjure the ball," Vivians said of the final play, aback Ogunbowale got the inbounds canyon from Young. "Me and [Rosda Johnson] were declared to abjure her and not let her bolt it. So she bent the brawl and we got shut off, and she fabricated it."
Vic Schaefer took the acation for the defeat.
"You're up bristles with 1:40 [left], it's my job to get them me, and I didn't get them me," he said. "I'll abrasion that, maybe for the blow of my career."
That's far too acrid a account for Schaefer, w has congenital this affairs into what it has become.
Last year, afterwards an y semifinal aated of UConn aback they concluded the Huskies' NCAA-record 111-game acceptable band with a buzzer-beating attempt in overtime, the Bulldogs fell to SEC battling South Carolina in the final.
This year, Mississippi State was aggravating to become the third SEC aggregation to win the women's basketball championship (which would accept additionally been the aboriginal civic appellation in academy history, for men's and women's teams). Tennessee has eight NCAA les, the best contempo in 2008.
The ascendance of Mississippi State and South Carolina -- two programs that badly added their fan bases and their brand on the action -- has been a above storyline in women's basketball the accomplished few years.
Schaefer took over in Starkville in 2012-13, afterwards several acknowledged years as an abettor at Texas A&M and Arkansas for Gary Blair. Before Schaefer's arrival, Mississippi State had won alone nine NCAA clash amateur -- with one cruise to the Sweet 16 -- in the program's existence. Schaefer's Bulldogs accept won 10 amateur in the NCAA clash in aloof these accomplished two seasons.
Before Schaefer, the Bulldogs had never baffled SEC an Tennessee. And alike in their acknowledged years, they never absolutely seemed to abduction abundant absorption in Starkville.
But that afflicted with Schaefer, w followed the arrangement he'd apparent ignment at Texas A&M of a arch drillmaster alive adamantine to appoint the fans.
Of course, it takes results, too. And he got tse. The chief chic of Vivians, William, Blair Schaefer and Johnson won 126 games, and their SEC regular-season appellation this year was the aboriginal for any women's action at Mississippi State.
Junior Teaira McCowan joins SEC Network's Nell Fortner to altercate the Bulldogs' achievement in the civic appellation game.
When they attending aback on this game, they will no agnosticism see absent opportunities and far too abounding turnovers (15). The breach became brackish and afraid in the additional half. McCowan -- w burst an NCAA clash almanac with 109 rebounds -- looked a bit annoyed Sunday afterwards logging so abounding account this season. She was 7 of 19 from the acreage (36.8 percent) Sunday afterwards cutting 67.2 percent in her antecedent bristles NCAA clash amateur this year.
Vivians concluded her academy career with 21 credibility and nine rebounds and is accepted to be a first-round WNBA abstract aces on April 12. The alone added Bulldogs amateur w denticulate in bifold abstracts was McCowan with 18, to go with her 17 rebounds.
McCowan is the alone amateur w will acknowledgment for aing season. Altugh she is technically old abundant to acknowledge for the accessible WNBA draft, she said Sunday she would not do that. Asked her tughts on actuality the Bulldogs' baton for 2018-19, McCowan said in a quiet Mississippi State locker room, "I'll accept them ready."
Vic Schaefer said the team's affair all this ision was, "One more," afterwards falling a achievement abbreviate of acceptable the NCAA appellation aftermost season.
"Notre Dame fabricated one added comedy tonight," he said. "So we congratulate them."
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