Mississippi State

Mississippi State, Baylor battle for Women's Final Four berth Sunday

Mississippi State guard Morgan William drives past Washington guard Aarion McDonald, left, during the regional semifinal. The Bulldogs face Baylor in the Elite Eight Sunday night.
Mississippi State guard Morgan William drives past Washington guard Aarion McDonald, left, during the regional semifinal. The Bulldogs face Baylor in the Elite Eight Sunday night. Associated Press

Mississippi State is considered an underdog in its Elite Eight contest against top-seeded Baylor.

The second-seeded Bulldogs (32-4) are coming off a 75-64 win over Washington in the Sweet 16 on Friday. Despite being the higher seed, MSU was considered the underdog against the Huskies.

“I’ve got a good team,” Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer said. “I’m a little disappointed in the country right now that we’re not getting the respect that they deserve. We’ve got a bunch of really good players and we’ve beaten a bunch of really good people.

“I have so much pride in these girls because I know how hard they work. They’re just not getting that much credit right now and that’s fine. We’ll fly under the radar.”

Dominique Dillingham earned praise for her defensive performance on Washington’s Kelsey Plum, the nation’s all-time leading scorer. Plum needed 25 shots to score 29 points.

“We were the higher seed so we believed that we should win,” Dillingham said. “We don’t get the respect that we should. We’ve worked so hard to be here and I don’t think we get the credit we deserve sometimes beating a lot of great teams. We’re going to try to beat another great team on Sunday.”

A trip to Dallas and the Women’s Final Four are on the line. Baylor (32-3) is favored to beat MSU. The Bulldogs will carry that chip on their shoulder. The Bears beat Louisville 97-63 on Friday.

“Seeing them yesterday in person was really impressive,” Schaefer said. “When you scout in person, the thing that the film doesn’t show is quickness, speed, how truly big someone is. Yesterday I got that up close and in person. They're an extremely talented, well coached basketball team.”

Baylor is trying to get to the Final Four for the first time since winning the national title in 2012, while Mississippi State will try to make it for the first time.

“We finished second in the SEC and played for two SEC championships,” Schaefer said. “The lack of respect that I felt our team got is also a slap in the face to our league because our league is a monster. You tell me who we’re playing and I’ll be there. In our league, you’ve got to have that mentality.”

Two former Sun Herald girls’ basketball players of the year —Harrison Central’s Jazzmun Holmes and Ameshya Williams of West Harrison—each shined during the NCAA Tournament. Holmes scored 14 points against DePaul in the second round. Williams scored 15 against Troy in round one.

Game plan

What: Oklahoma City Regional

Who: Mississippi State vs. Baylor

When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

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