COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Notre Dame and Mississippi players entered the Nationwide Arena at 10:00 am Saturday morning, glazed glassy and emotionally hungover for reality for lack of sleep.
Friday night had been historic. It was the first Women's Final Four with two overtime hours. Notre Dame, No. 1, defeated her demon by ending a series of seven defeats against Connecticut, their long-time rival and women's basketball gold standard. The 1-1 state of Mississippi had a chance to defeat its demon by defeating Louisville for a second shot at a national championship that he lost to South Carolina last year.
Now comes the hard part, where the Bulldogs and Fighting Irish have to find a way to balance themselves mentally and emotionally before meeting in the championship game on Sunday night. It's difficult to find the sweet spot that comes down from Friday just to be focused and stand up just enough for the title game to be the best.
Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw knows how difficult that can be. In the 201
"It's really tough," McGraw said. In 2011, "we beat Tennessee in the regional, came and beat Connecticut, no one had ever beaten her back to back, it was like we were done, we were spent, that was all the emotions we had, we got together never really recovered from it, and I think it was similar – every time you beat Connecticut because of the dominance of their program, it's just an emotional win – it's really hard to get back to work We should have gone home right now. "
As hard as it gets to be mentally correct, McGraw and Mississippi State know a title match between two ultra-talented, well-prepared Teams can come up with the mentality.
"It's all about thinking," McGraw said. "It's really about, this is a game, two teams playing for a national championship, you were here last year, you know how it is, for us it's just a question, what we've done next and the pressure of the moment does not come to us. "
The state of Mississippi has won the emotions of a thrilling overtime in a national semi-final since it bothered Connecticut at Summer last year. Morgan William, the winner of the 2017 winner, said that this year's Bulldogs are more mature and more used to the requirements of a Final Four weekend.
But Mississippi State (37-1) not only draws on experience to mentally prepare, but also reveals her desire for salvation.
"We have unfinished business," said Senior Blair Schaefer. "We came to the national championship game last year, but I really feel like we left something out, everyone hurts, everyone is tired, it's the team that can find the grind in them, it's about it This year, we have this mentality: "We do not care how you feel, we do not care how tired you are, how painful." We've teamed up and made sure to finish it Schaefer and William must hope that their motivation to win is simply greater than that of Notre Dame, who will play their fifth national championship game in the past eight years.
Despite all these travels, the Irish have conquered only one national title in 2001. Only one of McGraw's active players, senior Kathryn Beld, was in a title game.
The story of Notre Dame (34-3) was her resilience in advancing to the title game, although four players suffered from a cruciate ligament tear and their deployment was reduced to seven fellows. But adherence to the program's history motivates the crew just like everything else, said the guard Marina Mabrey.
Her older sister Michaela also played for the Irish.
"I even think I was watching my sister play, she always said like, oh yes, we always go to the Final Four, we have to go to the Final Four, and you know, my freshman year is Sweet 16 and losing, I was like, "Oh wow, we're the worst team ever," Mabrey said, "I feel like there's even a sense of disappointment even though we did not win the ACC tournament this year , But if it would cause us to lose the ACC tournament to try to change things and change things, then straighten it out to win a national championship, I take it. , , ,
"We just have to make sure we are concentrated enough, yes, we beat U-Conn, but that was not the national championship, we have one goal in mind, and our goal was not to U-Conn Our goal was to achieve a national championship. "
Mabrey admitted that it will be difficult to concentrate after the emotional victory on Friday. But asked if Notre Dame still has fuel in the tank after an exhausting semifinals, she did not hesitate:
"I mean, I feel like I just stopped at the gas station."