/State needed its All Americans to step up, and they did – but so did Jordan Danberry

State needed its All Americans to step up, and they did – but so did Jordan Danberry

Before Victoria Vivians fouled out, the Bulldogs scored 25 points from All American Victoria Vivians. All of those were also needed by State. Roshunda Johnson was the best 3-point shooter in the country and State needed her to make the largest 3-pointer of all time to force the game into overtime. McCowan quickly screened Johnson and Johnson was able to see the ball clearly. Johnson was able to nail it thanks to her open look. Here’s the thing: The Bulldogs didn’t have all they needed – but they did need more. Jordan Danberry was needed, even though she averaged just nine minutes per game this season. But, she played 26 minutes on this night and made each one count. Danberry was asked to protect Louisville All-American Asia Durr, and she did it as well as it could be. Danberry, a junior transfer out of Arkansas, scored 10 points and stole the ball three more times. She also made four of five free shots, all in crunch time. Vic Schaefer stated that Jordan made a significant difference in our game tonight, citing his versatility and ability to play on both ends of court. Blair Schaefer’s daughter, Vic’s son, didn’t be surprised. Blair said, “Jordan kicks us butts every single day in practice.” We know what she can accomplish.” The 37-1 Bulldogs advanced to Sunday’s national championship match against Notre Dame. Connecticut was stunned later Friday night in an overtime game that was very similar to the one in which State defeated UConn in Dallas last year. It is true that State has never played an overtime match until now. The Bulldogs must recover from one the most demanding semifinal games. State was able to get everything it wanted from Louisville (36-3). The Cardinals will defend you just as well as the Bulldogs. Jeff Walz, Louisville coach, said, “What an amazing, great game of baseball.” Both teams ran back-and-forth. I thought they competed and played hard. They played their hearts out, I think. It was an amazing game.” Some of Walz’s players, including Durr, wept as he spoke. Walz continued, “Athletics can be a great thing.” It’s a wonderful thing, boy. But there are some ups and downs. This is one of those. State had to overcome so many obstacles to win this one. The Bulldogs failed to make their 10 first shots. They were trailing for most of the game. With seven minutes left, they trailed by seven points. They were down by five points in quarter two and seven points in the third. Both coaches said that this was a game full of spurts. With seven minutes remaining, they were down seven points. The Bulldogs took the lead with eight more points thanks to McCowan’s put-back. Louisville was not going to be quiet. Myisha Hines Allen scored a layup with 11 second left to give the Cardinals an advantage of 59 to 56. Vic Schaefer called timeout and made a play. It was quite a play. His daughter was the decoy and ran hard from screens to the right side. She was a major part of the Louisville defense. Johnson, who was one of five players on the field at that point, ran the opposite direction, avoiding McCowan’s screen. Morgan William handed the ball to Johnson. Johnson made the best shot of her life in the last college game she played. Here’s how the Bulldogs beat the Cardinals in overtime 14-4. In overtime, both teams had 13 rebounds. McCowan got seven of them, despite not taking a break this evening. McCowan also blocked two shots, and scored three points. Although she was obviously exhausted, she kept going and kept her feet on the ground. As she was throughout the tournament, she was amazing. McCowan scored 69 points in State’s three previous games against outstanding teams. She also grabbed 71 rebounds. I repeat: Seventy-one rebound. Vic Schaefer stated, “She’s an absolute beast.” “I wouldn’t trade her for anyone,” Vic Schaefer said. Danberry was there. This was the first time that a writer had ever asked a player about their hairstyle after a game. You’ll understand why I asked. Danberry’s “do” features two orange tennis balls at the back of her skull. She said, “Puff balls.” They’re known as puff balls. “I made them from my pig tails.” She should not change a thing.