Bull­dogs re­mem­ber 60- point loss

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Doug Feinberg

dal­las » Vic Schae­fer doesn’t want his play­ers to for­get last sea­son’s hu­mil­i­at­ing 60- point loss to UConn in the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

The Mis­sis­sippi State Bull­dogs have had a con­stant re­minder of that de­feat all sea­son long, with the num­ber 60 writ­ten on the win­dow of the team’s weight room.

“It’s an­noy­ing, hon­estly. It’san­noy­ing to see that 60,” point guardMor­ganWil­liam said. “Like, dang, we got beatby60. It’s apride thing, too. Get­ting beat by 60, that’s per­sonal.”

The Bull­dogs will get a chance at re­demp­tion­when they playUConn in the na­tional semi­fi­nals Fri­day night. It’s Mis­sis­sippi State’s first ap­pear­ance in the Fi­nal Four, while the Huskies are here for the 10th con­sec­u­tive year.

Schae­fer re­called howhe­was in­vited to speak at the Fi­nal Four last sea­son about de­fense, days af­ter his team lost 98- 38, and laughed at the no­tion.

While UConn’s cur­rent team is vastly dif­fer­ent from that squad—

Fi­nal Four

FRI­DAY In Dal­las No. 2 Stan­ford vs. No. 1 South Carolina, 5: 30 p. m., ESPN2 No. 2 Mis­sis­sippi State vs. No. 1 UConn, 7: 30 p. m., ESPN2 Bre­anna Ste­wart, Mor­ganTuck and Mo­riah Jef­fer­son left for the WNBA— Schae­fer knows that the Huskies’ sys­tem hasn’t changed.

“It­was a hum­bling, em­bar­rass­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us,” he said. “I think that’s the big thing you learn, is the speed of the game. Let­metell you, this team is no dif­fer­ent. I know the names have changed with some of them. The team is no dif­fer­ent. Great chem­istry. Great de­fen­sive team. Great of­fen­sive chem­istry. Great skill sets. They are fast. ... Speedy.”

UConn coach Geno Auriemma doesn’t put much stock into last sea­son’s game since his team is so dif­fer­ent.

“There’s no­body on this team right now that had any­thing other than ‘ Iwas at that game’ to dowith that score,” he said of the win. “If you watch that game, Stewie ( Bre­anna Ste­wart) looked like an NBA player play­ing against high school kids. Mo­riah was so much bet­ter than any­body on the floor. And Tuck just dom­i­nated long stretches of the game. So the score was like 30- 4 at the end of the first quar­ter. I think Lou ( Katie Lou Sa­muel­son) had one bucket. I don’t think Kia ( Nurse) had any. The other guys didn’t even play.”

Still, the group he does have has been great this sea­son, go­ing 36- 0 and ex­tend­ing UConn’s win­ning streak to 111 straight games.

“They don’t own any of those 10 Fi­nal Fours. They don’t own any of those 11 na­tional cham­pi­onships. They only own part of the streak,” Auriemma said. “I mean, the only thing that this teamhas to hold onto, I’ve said this be­fore, is the 36 wins that they have right nowthis year.”

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