Bulldogs remember 60- point loss
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—
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.”