The team that pulled off the big upset in last year’s women’s Final Four is headed to the title game again.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Teaira McCowan had 21 points and 25 rebounds to help Mississippi State reach the national championship game for the second straight year with a 73-63 overtime win over Louisville on Friday night.
Down three points, Roshunda Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 59 with seven seconds left in regulation. Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen then drove the length of the floor but missed a layup as time ran out with McCowan dogging her.
In overtime, the Bulldogs asserted themselves and Morgan William, who hit the game-winning shot in OT last year in the Final Four to end UConn’s 111-game winning streak, made two free throws in the last minute to help Mississippi State (37-1) pull away.
Louisville (36-3) managed just one basket on 10 shots in the extra period.
The Cardinals were hurt when center Sam Fuehring was called for a technical foul with 2:42 left in the fourth quarter when she slapped the floor after getting called for a foul. That technical fouled her out of the game. The Cardinals were down 54-53 and William hit both free throws to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead.
Louisville came back to take a 59-56 advantage on Hines-Allen’s layup with 11.3 seconds left setting up the exciting finish in regulation.
McCowan broke the rebounding mark set by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in 1994 when Mississippi State’s 6-foot-7 center grabbed her 24th board.
Asia Durr scored 18 for Louisville (36-3), which was making its third appearance in the Final Four. Jazmine Jones added 15.
The loss ended a wonderful season for Louisville, which won the ACC regular season and conference tournament for the first time in school history. The Cardinals also earned the first No. 1 seed in program history as well.
RECOGNITION: Mississippi State’s Vic Schaefer took time out to accept an award a few hours before the women’s Final Four tipped off. Schaefer was honored as the National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Schaefer thanked his family, including twins Blair and Charles Logan. Blair is a senior guard for the Bulldogs.
“You know what? She’s had a little bit to do with this today,” Schaefer said.
REBOUND MACHINE: McCowan also set the overall NCAA Tournament record for rebounds with 92 breaking the mark of 75 set by Janel McCarville in 2004.