Women's college basketball gameday: No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 UConn

Coaches at women's NCAA Final Four have deep connections

However UCONN's guards Saniya Chong, Crystal Dangerfield and Kia Nurse are arguably the best in the tournament and will be tough competition for Mississippi State's senior guard, Morgan William, to get by.

That's why Vic Schaefer constantly reminded himself of past year, when UConn beat the Bulldogs 98-38 in the Sweet 16. It's why they used the experience as a source of motivation.

"I just think all of it is part of the process", Graves said. "That's one game. You've got to go do it again". Their longest run at the top spot came during the 1998-1999 season, where the team which eventually won the national championship was No. 1 for 10 straight weeks.

There's been pressure on this year's UConn team unlike many others.

"That's one of the toughest decisions I had to make", said Sniezek, whose Stanford team plays SC at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the national semifinals, before UConn takes on Mississippi State in the second game. Gordon said. "It's an opportunity that not a lot of people get to partake in and for me it was just like a no-brainer, honestly".

It's consistent growth for this program, but the players say this year still feels too good to be true. There may not be a team anywhere that can play passing lanes as well as UConn... well, maybe except Mississippi State itself. The Bulldogs' defense is strong like it has been in other years under Schaefer, holding opponents to 57.2 points per game.

"Mentally it took me to a whole different level watching them make it this far", Taylor said.

"It really is an interesting dynamic", Auriemma said Tuesday during a national conference call.

Throughout the college basketball season, the Associated Press releases a Top 25 poll ranking the best teams in the nation.

There's some truth there.

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There are other potential hang-ups that could slow construction of the Las Vegas stadium, which doesn't have a definite site yet. Remember, a renovated stadium can not compare to, say, the space-age palace the Falcons are opening in Atlanta this season.

They've been locked in since they signed last fall, including the record-breaking games at Humphrey Coliseum and now this NCAA postseason.

Chris Hudgison is in Dallas covering the Bulldogs.

It's the ninth time that Auriemma has been honored as the AP's coach of the year, including the last two years. For the Ducks, it wasn't just that they failed in the ball security department but that they committed live-ball turnovers resulting in the athletic UConn players getting out in transition.

The mystique. The shock.

"She's meant so much to the university and to the Seattle area", said Washington coach Mike Neighbors.

In order for the Bulldogs to keep pace, though, they're going to have to put forth one of their best offensive performances of the season, considering they average almost 11 points fewer per game (76.8) compared to the Huskies. "It wasn't me, believe me, saying, 'Hey, Vic, if you do this, this and this, next year you guys are going to be in the Final Four.' There wasn't anything like that at all".

UConn reloaded without a period of lagging.

Morgan William figures the tears are finished flowing after dedicating a brilliant performance to her late stepfather when the Mississippi State women advanced to their first Final Four. Collier is averaging 20.6 points per game, 9.1 rebounds and a 68.9 field goal percentage. If Schaefer's pre-game talk is anything like this, then I expect Mississippi State to have a great shot to beat UConn. "Control what we can control, win the minute, win the hour, try to win the two hours". Davis is a bit of a streaky three-point shooter, the blessing and the curse of many a basketball team.

"My big kid's not going to be able to guard her". I don't care how good your defense is because when you get to this point of the season you're not going to win this thing with your defense.

Leading 6-4, UConn scored 17 straight points.

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