For the third time this season, the Mississippi State women’s basketball team took on South Carolina. It was the second time the two would battle for a title. And like the first two times, the third game would end in defeat.
The Bulldogs put up a valiant effort against the Gamecocks as the two teams played for a national championship to cap the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament. The Bulldogs beat two No. 1 seeds, Baylor and Connecticut, to reach the title game. But the Gamecocks proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, as South Carolina won its first women’s basketball championship and denied Mississippi State the chance to do so in a 67-55 victory.
Unlike its game against Connecticut, where Mississippi State snapped the four-time defending champs’ 111-game winning streak, the Bulldogs got off to a slow start and found themselves trailing 36-26 at halftime. The Bulldogs trimmed the defect to 4 in the third quarter, but two late buckets gave the Gamecocks a 52-44 lead heading into the fourth. Again in the fourth, Mississippi State cut the lead to 4, but the Gamecocks quickly established a more comfortable lead.
The Bulldogs were led by Victoria Vivans who finished with 12 points but on 4-of-16 shooting. Morgan William, the hero of the Connecticut game, finished with 8 points and 4 assists. South Carolina was led by A’ja Wilson, who poured in 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and swatted 4 shots.
Despite the loss, it was still a fantastic season for the Bulldogs. Before the season, Mississippi State had never even been to the Elite Eight, let alone a national championship game appearance. The Bulldogs finish with a record of 34-5.