There will be time to ask questions about how the Mississippi State Women’s basketball team played in the National Championship game. There will be time to ask questions about some of the coaching decisions Vic Schaefer made.
Tonight is not that time.
From a fan who paid little attention to the Women’s Basketball team before the arrival of Vic Schaefer, I think I can speak for all who are similar. You made us love you.
You made us live and die with every shot you took. You made us feel like we were on the court with you. You made us believe a program at Mississippi State could accomplish things no one thought possible.
When the season began, the team was ranked as one of the best teams in the country. You didn’t just hang out at the back of the Top 10, you thrived and put yourselves in the midst of the discussion as one of the premiere Women’s Basketball programs in the country currently.
When the NCAA Tournament began, many of us who pulled for you were concerned that you weren’t playing well enough entering the Tournament to have a chance at being competitive. You showed up to the Hump and showed out in response. Scoring over 200 points in two games and completely dominating your first two opponents showed us the best had yet to come.
When the Sweet 16 approached, people told us Kelsey Plum was too much to handle. You showed us that it would take more than one player to defeat you.
When you walked on the floor for the Elite 8, Baylor’s legendary coach and wealth of talent was supposed to be too much to overcome. You gave one of the best efforts we saw all season and brought us to our feet.
And then the penultimate challenge awaited you. Most (myself included) thought the challenge would be too big to overcome. The Huskies had the best coach in basketball. The Huskies had a winning streak that will be remembered as the best to ever grace a field of competition. They were giants even David could not slay.
And yet you did. You came out and refused to back down from the opening tip. You refused to buckle under the pressure of playing the greatest team Women’s College basketball had ever seen. You slayed the giant and gave us one of the greatest moments the world of sports has witnessed.
Again, I say thank you.
I know you are disappointed in not finishing the NCAA Tournament with a National Championship. I know the sting and pain you feel tonight is beyond anything what I could possibly imagine. And I know somewhere in your mind, you think you let us down. But please remember this.
We couldn’t be more proud.
Hold your head up high. We all saw things we never thought the Lady Bulldogs would ever accomplish in our lifetimes. You gave us something to cheer as wildly for as we have in any other aspect of our lives.
And for that, thank you from the bottom of my heart.