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Arike Ogunbowale encore! Final Four hero lifts Notre Dame to NCAA title

05 April 2018
Arike Ogunbowale encore! Final Four hero lifts Notre Dame to NCAA title

Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale (24) takes the game-winning shot during the NCAA Women's National Championship game played at Nationwide Arena Sunday. Her jumper with one second remaining in overtime knocked off previously unbeaten UConn in the semifinals on Friday.

Give Ogunboewale credit for making her second game-winning shot of the Final Four.

"I'm just so speechless at this point", Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

Arike Ogunbowale will forever be associated with the words one more.

"We just want to win a national championship", said Mabrey. OK, so everybody go right down the middle and drive it to the rim, ' " said Mabrey, Notre Dame's most prolific 3-point shooter.

A few thousand fans welcomed the team in South Bend, Indiana, for a campus celebration that came 17 years to the day since the first title.

"It's a little bit of luck", Muffat said, "the luck of the Irish Easter Sunday with all those Catholics praying for us had to be working in our favor".

This Final Four belonged to Ogunbowale and the Irish.

Notre Dame was playing in its fifth title game in the last eight years. The Irish lost four players to torn ACLs during the season, but they showed their resiliency, going 35-3 - all their losses were to top-five teams (Louisville twice and UConn once).

It was Ogunbowale's only three-pointer of the game, just the second all night for Notre Dame. The ball swished through the net less than a second later, followed immediately by the flash of the end-of-game red lights on the border of the backboard. Then, Sheryl Swoopes and Texas Tech edged Katie Smith and Ohio State 84-82 in the final; both players are Naismith Hall of Famers, with Smith named to the Class of 2018 last week. A hectic sequence in the final seconds gave Notre Dame the ball with a sideline inbounds with three seconds remaining and a chance to win. Mississippi State controlled the first three quarters, leading by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.

"These games come down to one more", MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. It hurts. They played their hearts out.

The Bulldogs got 21 points in Vivians' final game and she had nine rebounds and four steals.

A season after losing to SC 67-55 in the title game, Morgan William and the Bulldogs try again to win that elusive first crown. They were down 40-25 early in the third quarter before finally getting on track offensively.

For a moment in the first half, the Irish seemed frustrated by Mississippi State (37-2, 16-0 SEC). It was Notre Dame's first national title since 2001, which, incidentally, also featured an area connection. It will go down as one of the most iconic shots in women's basketball and forever be remembered in Irish lore.

At the same time, the 6-foot-7 McCowan and Victoria Vivians were powering the Bulldogs.

Teaira McCowan guided Mississippi State with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Notre Dame has erased a 13-point halftime deficit to tie the score with Mississippi State after three quarters in the women's NCAA championship game. After the win, Mabrey checked her Instagram, and it turned out her teammate's prediction was as accurate as her jumper-she'd cracked five digits.