‘Itty Bitty’ guard big in Bulldogs lore after UConn shocker

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Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs guard Morgan William, right, is mobbed by guards Blair Schaefer (1) and Dominique Dillingham (00) after making the game-winning basket in overtime against the Connecticut in an NCAA college basketbal game in the semifinals of the women’s Final Four at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Friday, March 31, 2017. Mississippi State broke Connecticut’s winning streak with a 66-64 win in overtime. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

DALLAS (AP) Morgan William figures her new nickname “Itty Bitty” will grow on her.

Mississippi State’s diminutive point guard also will have to deal with her growing status in Bulldogs lore, among the likes of Dak Prescott, after a buzzer-beating overtime shot that ended UConn’s record 111-game winning streak and sent State to its first women’s NCAA Tournament championship game.

“I guess it’s great. I’m shy, I’m not just like social butterfly,” William said Saturday. “To get all this attention … it’s overwhelming. But it’s exciting because it’s for a great cause. I’m just enjoying it right now, like everywhere I go, can I get a picture, can I get an autograph? I’m used to being low key, shy, minding my business.”

Morgan Williams — yes, with an extraneous letter on her last name — became a trending topic on Twitter after her shot that took down the four-time defending national champion Huskies late Friday night in Dallas — after midnight on the East Coast.

Prescott, a record-setting NFL rookie quarterback who last season helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to the NFC East title, sat near the Mississippi State bench, emphatically cheering on his Bulldogs. Amid the postgame celebration, the quarterback of America’s Team joined William on the floor for an interview.

So who’s the most popular Bulldog at the moment?

“I’m going to say it’s Morgan William,” fellow guard Victoria Vivians said.

“I think Morgan might have Dak beat right now,” teammate Dominique Dillingham said. “She’s going to have it rough when she gets back” to Starkville.

Before that, William and the Bulldogs (34-4) still have one more game to play. They take on South Carolina (32-4) in a rematch of the SEC Tournament championship game — this time for the national title.

“We fought extremely hard to get where we are. For us to come off beating a great team, and not finishing it off, it’d be tough,” Williams said. “We beat UConn, but we haven’t gotten the rings, cut the nets. Nothing like that.”

Mississippi State has won consecutive games against top-seeded teams in overtime. The Bulldogs are the first team ever with consecutive overtime victories in the NCAA Tournament.

William scored 41 points in Mississippi State’s 94-85 victory over Baylor in the Oklahoma City Regional final last Sunday night. While she had only 13 points against UConn, and had a layup attempt blocked at the end of regulation, the smallest player on the floor made the biggest shot.

Like she has for most of her basketball career, William wanted the ball at the big moment, a desire developed while growing up being coached by her stepfather, Donnie Rory, who died just over three years ago.

“Pretty much my stepdad coached me all my life, and was my high school coach. Daughter-father, just had that bond, it was like I want the ball in my hands,” she said. “Just having the confidence that I can make something happen, and I live for moments like that now.”

William is listed at 5-foot-5 on Mississippi State’s roster.

When asked in interviews how tall she is, her response is “Whatever the paper says, that’s how tall I am. I really don’t know. I don’t think it really matters right now.”

Especially for maybe the most recognizable celebrity in Starkvegas. And her status will only grow if the Bulldogs win a national title.

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