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Monday July 24th, 2017 4:32PM

The Latest: Auriemma in unfamiliar spot watching title game

By The Associated Press
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DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the NCAA women's championship game (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma is in an unfamiliar spot: watching the NCAA women's championship game after his Huskies won the past four titles.

Auriemma's team had a record 111-game winning streak ended on a stunning buzzer-beater by Mississippi State's Morgan William in the national semifinals. The Bulldogs are playing South Carolina for the title.

The nine-time Associated Press coach of the year says "you kind of forget that there's another side to it" after winning four straight. UConn has 11 titles overall.

Auriemma says it "takes a while getting used to watching it, but two good teams and two teams that deserve to be playing tonight."

___

6:10 p.m.

South Carolina is halfway to its first NCAA women's championship in a matchup of first-time finalists with Mississippi State.

The Gamecocks overcame an early surge that delighted a pro-Bulldogs crowd, leading by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before settling for a 36-26 halftime lead Sunday night.

Allisha Gray and A'ja Wilson scored 11 points apiece for South Carolina, which trailed 7-1 early before taking its first lead on two free throws by Doniyah Cliney with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.

Morgan William, whose buzzer beat ended four-time champion UConn's 111-game winning streak in the semifinals, was held to one field goal and 6 points in the first half.

The Bulldogs trailed by double digits and at halftime for the first time in the NCAA Tournament.

___

5:55 p.m.

Seven members of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic women's basketball team have been honored at the NCAA women's championship game.

During a break in the first half of the Mississippi State-South Carolina title game Sunday night, the players were introduced along with some coaches and staff members. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, an assistant on the staff, was mentioned as she worked the huddle with her Gamecocks.

The players present were Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Tamika Catchings and Lindsay Whalen. Catchings played high school basketball in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville.

The U.S. won gold in Rio de Janeiro last summer with UConn coach Geno Auriemma leading the way. He was on the court for the presentation two nights after his four-time champion Huskies had their 111-game winning streak ended by Mississippi State.

Staley is replacing Auriemma as head coach.

___

5:40 p.m.

South Carolina has weathered an early surge from crowd favorite Mississippi State to take an 18-14 lead after one quarter of the NCAA women's championship game Sunday night.

Allisha Gray scored 6 points and Bianca Cuevas-Moore had 3 while shadowing Bulldogs guard Morgan William, who ended UConn's 111-game winning streak with a buzzer-beating jumper in overtime in the semifinals.

After taking a 7-1 lead, Mississippi State ended up battling foul trouble in the first. Dominique Dillingham and Breanna Richardson had two apiece.

___

5:15 p.m.

There's a lot of Mississippi State maroon at the home of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks for the NCAA women's championship game.

Busloads of fans, many in Bulldogs gear, could be seen arriving before Sunday night's title game that will produce a first-time champion, Mississippi State or South Carolina.

One ticket scalper said he could get someone in the lower bowl for $400 in the roughly 20,000-seat American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Another wasn't selling for less than $700.

Roy Tucker drove from Hamilton, Mississippi, to Tyler in East Texas on Saturday after Morgan William's stunning buzzer beater ended UConn's 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals.

Tucker, who finished the drive Sunday without tickets, said he and two friends had found two tickets at a "reasonable price" about an hour and half before tipoff and were looking for one more.

___

4:55 p.m.

Mississippi State is missing a famous fan in pursuit of the school's first championship in women's basketball.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who wildly celebrated the shot that ended UConn's record 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals, missed the Bulldogs' NCAA title game against South Carolina on Sunday night because of a commitment he couldn't break.

Prescott, a popular starter for the Bulldogs, had a record-setting rookie season for the Cowboys while leading them to the NFC East title after Tony Romo got hurt.

From a seat near the Mississippi State bench on Friday, Prescott jumped and threw his arms in the air when Morgan William hit a buzzer-beating jumper to knock off the four-time champion Huskies in overtime.

Asked after the game if he would be there for the final, Prescott said he was going to try. Turns out he couldn't make the arrangements.

___

4:20 p.m.

A first-time champion is set to be crowned in women's basketball with an all-Southeastern Conference NCAA title game between South Carolina and Mississippi State.

The Bulldogs will try to knock off a third consecutive No. 1 seed Sunday night, two days after ending UConn's record 111-game winning streak on Morgan William's breathtaking, buzzer-beating jumper.

Both teams are in the title game for the first time. It's Mississippi State's first trip to the Final Four and the second for the Gamecocks, who beat frequent Final Four qualifier Stanford in the semifinals.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley made three Final Fours as a player at Virginia in the early 1990s but never won the title. Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer was on Texas A&M's staff when the Aggies won the championship six years ago.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - NFL, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
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