It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, as Mississippi State and Notre take the primetime stage for a national championship.
Tipoff is at 6:00 PM ET on ESPN
Records and Seeding
Mississippi State: 1 (37-1)
Notre Dame: 1 (34-3)
What to Watch For
Teaira McCowan on the boards:
Coming off her best performance, McCowan is sure to have her way against the Irish. But it is going to take another 20-20 performance. Having said that, McCowan is more than capable, as her confidence is through the roof. Given Notre Dame does not have anyone over 6’4”, McCowan will take advantage, likely drawing most of the attention.
Her career-high 25 rebounds, also a Final Four record put Louisville on their heels, as McCowan was a force to be reckoned with. The Irish are arguably the game’s best on offense, and McCowan must be at her best defensively while also staying out of foul trouble. Though she was only tagged with one personal against the Cardinals, Notre Dame will do everything in its power to keep McCowan toward the sidelines. However, McCowan has seen the strategy all year, and will throw the perfect counterpunch at the Irish.
Notre Dame’s dynamic duo: Arike Ogunbowale and Jackie Young:
Speaking the highest volumes for Notre Dame’s offense are guards Ogunbowale and Young. Both are quick with range and unafraid to pull the trigger from any spot on the floor. Comparable to the Bulldogs’ monumental victory over UCONN, Ogunbowale beat the buzzer as well to take down the Huskies in monumental fashion. While the duo combined for 59 of Notre Dame’s 91 points Friday night, Ogunbowale and Young will have to face the game’s toughest defense if they wish to do it again.
The two are unafraid and unfazed by the moment. Coach Vic Schaefer and Mississippi State will have to come up with something special if they wish to contain both. Look for a fierce battle between Ogunbowale and Young and the Bulldogs’ best on defense, led by Blair Schaefer and Roshunda “Ro” Johnson.
Morgan William running the show:
What else is there to say about William in the tournament? “Itty Bitty” has been everywhere on both ends of the floor game after game. Coach Vic has all the confidence in the world in William to run the offense, as she has developed into a true point guard. Capable of breaking any defensive scheme, Notre Dame will have to be locked in on William.
She knows her role and can fill the stat line with ease. As shown throughout the season and tournament, the bigger the stage, the brighter she shines. Look for William to do a bit of everything on both ends of the floor.
Tonight’s unsung hero:
The beauty of March Madness is that we witness the emergence of an unsung hero year after year. Jordan Danberry came up big for Mississippi State in the closing moments Friday night, as she slammed the door on Louisville. So who will it be tonight? Look for Danberry and another emerging star to make a game-changing play on the championship stage.
While this game can go either way, Mississippi State will win its first national title. Through experience and depth, the Bulldogs will contain the Irish, and win a hard-fought battle that comes down to the wire. Though Notre Dame is better offensively, Mississippi State is better on both ends of the floor, as they will be hoisting the championship trophy.