It's all SEC for women's title after Mississippi St stunner


DALLAS - (AP) -- Now that UConn is surprisingly out of the way, it's time for an SEC party with a pair of teams that have never played in the NCAA women's championship game.

Mississippi State's 66-64 upset that snapped the Huskies' record 111-game winning streak Friday night means a third meeting this season with South Carolina, this time on Sunday for the title.

Some new blood is filling in for the blue bloods at the Final Four, with the Bulldogs pulling their stunner in their first trip to the semifinals and the Gamecocks taking over in the second half of their second visit and beating frequent semifinalist Stanford 62-53.

"It's amazing, but you know the job's not finished," said South Carolina guard Kaela Davis, who transferred from Georgia Tech with the idea of playing for a title. "We've done something, the first in program history. For us, we're aiming for another first."

Instead of Geno Auriemma going for a fifth straight title and 12th overall with UConn, it'll be a pair of first-time coaches in South Carolina's Dawn Staley and Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer.

But they're not complete novices. Staley made three straight Final Fours as a player with Virginia in the early 1990s without winning a title before leading South Carolina to its first bid two years ago. Schaefer was on the staff when Texas A&M won the championship six years ago.

The Gamecocks (32-4) won both previous meetings, 64-61 at home during the regular season and 59-49 in the SEC Tournament championship in early March in Greenville, South Carolina.

"This team's been really good about on to the next one," Schaefer said. "You walk in the locker room, there's not a lot of jumping around. We're going into round three with South Carolina. We've had two knockdown, drag-outs with them."

It's the third all-SEC title game, following Tennessee-Georgia in 1996 and Tennessee-Auburn in 1989. The Vols won both. Tennessee was also the last SEC team to win a NCAA title in 2008.

As for a bevy of players who will be on the biggest stage for the first time, a budding star has a head start.

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