Life at the Final Four: More than basketball

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Life at the Final Four: More than basketball

The Mississippi State-Louisville victor will take on the victor of Friday's other semifinal game between UConn and Notre Dame.

Since so many fans want to see the Mississippi State vs. CT rematch, it's easy to overlook Mississippi State's semifinal opponent, Louisville.

And Mississippi State is now headed on to the National Championship game.

Mississippi State is back in the Final Four for the second straight season, Louisville returns for the first time in five years. They haven't lost since a 69-58 setback at No. 1 UConn back on February 12 and made it to the Final Four for the third time in 11 years under coach Jeff Walz.

Louisville's Asia Durr punches head coach Jeff Walz during a practice session for the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Lady Bulldogs are among the favorites now, and they want the opportunity to play Notre Dame or rematch UConn in the finals.

They won't have to worry about the Gamecocks in this year's Final Four, with UConn beating SC 94-65 Monday night in the Albany Region final.

After falling in the championship game to SC previous year, the Bulldogs are 36-1 this season, with their only loss coming in the SEC tournament final, also to the Gamecocks.

"Last year's experience was great", said William, who became a celebrity thanks to her beast-slaying shot.

McCowan broke the rebounding mark set by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in 1994 when Mississippi State's 6-foot-7 center grabbed her 24th board. That shot rattled out anyway, but the points stands. "If it's overtime, we say it's our time, it's our game".

Mississippi State's victory is largely due to the incredibly dominant effort of Teaira McCowan. She's averaging 18.1 points but had more than 20 in the last three tournament games.

Schaefer said watching Louisville play reminds him of his own team.

The play of Hines-Allen during her final season at UofL should provide plenty of inspiration. Except, at the end of regulation UConn's senior guard Kia Nurse stole the ball to score in the closing seconds to send it into overtime, and Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale had the ball at the end of OT and sunk a three to win the game.

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