Arike Ogunbowale floated in a three-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left, lifting Notre Dame to a thrilling 61-58 comeback victory over Mississippi State. She also made the winning shot in Friday’s semifinal victory over Connecticut.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Arike Ogunbowale made the shot of her life — again.
Ogunbowale floated in a three-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left, lifting Notre Dame to its second women’s basketball title with a thrilling 61-58 comeback victory over Mississippi State in the NCAA championship game Sunday night.
It was the second straight game the junior guard made a shot in the final second to carry the Fighting Irish. Her jumper with one second left in overtime knocked off previously unbeaten Connecticut in the semifinals Friday.
With the title game tied, Ogunbowale took the inbounds pass from Jackie Young, dribbled toward the right corner and, guarded by Victoria Vivians, lofted home a three from in front of the Notre Dame bench, nearly the same angle as her shot that beat UConn.
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“It just felt right,” said Ogunbowale, who scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half. “I practice late-game all the time. I just ran to Jackie and said, ‘Throw it to me, throw it to me.’ ”
Ogunbowale was voted most outstanding player and also received a congratulatory tweet from NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The Irish pulled off the biggest comeback in title-game history. They rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter and were down by five in the final 1:58. Marina Mabrey made a three-pointer from the wing and Young had a shot in the lane to tie the score.
The title came 17 years after Notre Dame (35-3) won its only other championship, in 2001 on Easter.
“It’s Easter Sunday, and all the Catholics were praying for us,” said Irish coach Muffet McGraw, who was wearing floral shoes in honor of the holiday.
McGraw’s team had fallen short four times in five years in the final, losing in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
This version of McGraw’s squad refused to lose, and the run was even more improbable because the Irish lost four players over the season to ACL injuries.
Tied as the clock ran down, Mississippi State standout Teaira McCowan missed a layup with 27.8 seconds left, and both teams turned the ball over in a wild sequence. McCowan fouled out of the game stopping an Irish fast break after consecutive turnovers and that set up the final three seconds.
After Ogunbowale’s clutch shot, officials huddled and put one-tenth of a second on the clock. Some Mississippi State players had already headed for the locker room.
The court was cleared, and the Bulldogs (37-2) tossed a futile inbounds pass into the lane at the buzzer.