Mississippi State women’s basketball will play in the Final Four for the first time in program history this weekend. For junior guard Morgan William, though, approaching the biggest game of her life just simply reminds her of her father.
“But no matter what the future holds, that game on Sunday will always be for Dad,” she wrote in a op-ed for The Players’ Tribune.
William’s father passed away three years ago this week. She explained after Sunday’s victory in the Elite 8 that her father is “the reason” she plays. William recalled in her op-ed how her father trained her before school when she was a teenager, preparing her to play college basketball. He died knowing she was going to Mississippi State, but he never witnessed her playing college basketball.
“For all the years he spent helping me, coaching me and loving me,” she wrote. “All the hours he made me fine-tune the little parts of my game — the footwork and the conditioning.”
The junior averaged 10.1 points per game this season and posted just 11 points combined and shot 25 percent in her team’s first three NCAA Tournament games. But Sunday in the Elite 8 against Baylor, William exploded for 41 points in the 94-85 overtime victory.
William and the Bulldogs will face undefeated Connecticut in the Final Four at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Huskies beat the Bulldogs in the Sweet 16 last season by 60 points.