Arike Ogunbowale did it again. The Notre Dame junior had downed UConn in the Final Four with a miracle jumper in a tie game. Mississippi State put her in an even tougher position. Bang.
The NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament had brought plenty of drama to Columbus, Ohio, in a Final Four featuring both games going to overtime. The championship matched the drama. The Fighting Irish beat the Bulldogs 61-58 on a stunning 3-pointer off an inbounds play by Ogunbowale, the 5-8 star guard who got them here.
The referees added 0.1 seconds back to the clock, but it was for naught. The Irish had won their second national title, first since Ruth Riley's squad in 2001. Ogunbowale, who was named the Most Outstanding Player, now goes down in Notre Dame lore with Riley.
Mississippi State led 30-17 after the first half, but the Irish made it a tie game with a 24-11 third quarter.
Ogunbowale, the team's leading scorer, finished with 18 points on 6-for-21 shooting. That last one more than made up for any inefficiency. Forward Jessica Shepard, tasked with matching up against 6-7 Bulldogs center Teaira McCowan, added a team-high 19 points and six rebounds.