A name you should you know by now if you’ve been following the college basketball world the past two weeks. Listed at 5”5 as a junior on the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, but in all likelihood, it’s probably closer to 5”2. Despite William and her Bulldogs having a 32-4 record heading into an Elite 8 match up against No. 1 seed Baylor, they were still in many eyes a heavy underdog. William, nick named “Itty Bitty,” (no explanation needed) scored an impressive 41 points to lead her team to their first ever Final Four appearance with a 94-85 win in overtime. She shot 13-22 from the field, including 6-8 from beyond the arc, to go along with 7 assists, and zero turnovers in 40 minutes of play. After the big win, naturally William was emotional and at a loss for words. But, for more than the natural high of playing the game you love. The day prior to the game against Baylor marked the three-year anniversary of the death of her father who passed at the age of 44 from a sudden heart attack.
Heart over height. Despite so much adversity not only dealing with the difficulty of losing your father, but always hearing that you are too small to make an impact in the SEC, William did just that and then some. Coming into the game, she was only averaging 10.1 points per game. But with her dad on her heart and a Final Four berth on her mind William took complete control exceeding all expectations leading her team to Dallas to date with national powerhouse UCONN and winners of 111 straight wins.
But, the story doesn't end there. It gets better!
Friday night in front a capacity crowd of 19,000, all eyes would be on “Itty Bitty” Morgan William to see what she had left to lead her team against the all mighty Goliath of women’s basketball, Geno Auriemma and his Connecticut Huskies.
After an initial spark from Mississippi State to start the game and 22-13 lead in the first quarter, the entire nation tuned in for what would eventually go down as history. With UCONN down 8 at halftime, everyone awaited their furious comeback to start the second half and the Huskies did just that. All tied up at 48 heading into the fourth quarter from that point on it was a close back and forth game that eventually went into overtime.
With the game tied up with seconds left, Mississippi State ball, all eyes were on one person, Morgan William. William drove the ball hard to the right pulled up for a jumper as time expired and made what is now known as “THE SHOT.” The shot, that has forever changed the game of women’s basketball knocking out UCONN and ending their record setting streak of 111 straight wins. To say this win was monumental is probably understatement.
Morgan William did it again leading her team to an opportunity to now compete for a national championship against SEC rival South Carolina. Once again, all eyes were on the 5”2 small stature guard Morgan William, and if 48 hours later after the upset of the century, could she possibly have anything left?
She gave her best effort against a very talented USC team that went on to win their first national championship 67-55. A very exhausted William finished with 8 points in 23 minutes shooting only 2-6 from the field. Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer benched the now superstar guard the entire fourth quarter. Naturally, the twitter world went on a rant at Schaefer’s decision not the play the leader of his team and starting point guard that got the team this far (guilty…myself included🤔).
When William was asked what Schaefer told her about not playing a single a minute in the 4th quarter of the biggest game of the year, she once again won our hearts over❤️️
Morgan William made a name for herself in more ways than one this March. She will now always be remembered for her outstanding 41-point performance in the Elite 8 against Baylor, the infamous shot that changed the women’s game, and now being a class act, great teammate, and role model for how to carry yourself as a student-athlete. Regardless of something deeper happened on the bench between William, Schaefer, and her teammates, the world will never know. All because the humbled William is a team first, self-second individual. As a 5”5-ish player in the SEC, she overcame all odds, trusted the process, her coaches, and her teammates and in doing so accomplished so much this season.
I’m such a fan of Morgan William not only for her play on the court and never letting her height be reason she couldn’t compete at a high level or succeed. But her willingness to not be selfish for being benched, however instead doing what all athletes should do in that situation. Be a good teammate.
Love you guys...always, Dream.Live.Ball,