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Ice, Twice: Arike Ogunbowale Leads Irish To Title

Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer named USBWA National Coach of the Year

Notre Dame has returned to campus the day after Arike Ogunbowale's epic shot lifted the Irish to their second basketball championship.

Jessica Shepard paced the Irish with 19 points, on 8 of 10 shooting from the floor.

"I'm just so speechless at this point", Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I didn't want to give them a chance to get the ball". "We went into the fourth quarter up 11, and we had a huge mental lapse. Kobe's here, so that's what I tried to channel".

So, UConn was - even though, in the Final Four, all four number one seeds were there in Columbus this weekend, but UConn was kind of the number one overall seed. MS lost in last year's national championship to SC. "We had an unbelievable run for five months".

1991: Each game was decided by single digits, ending with Tennessee's 70-67 overtime win over Virginia that was so close, and the Cavaliers' Dawn Staley was the Final Four's most outstanding player despite being on the losing team - the only time that has happened.

"I mean, I usually win everything, so there's no need to be competitive", said Ogunbowale. New Jersey native Marina Mabrey added 10 points. She finished with one more point than McCowan, who fouled out with three seconds to play. So when we came out in the second half, we wanted to make sure our team offense was good.

"We had confidence in her", Young said.

"Phenomenal for women's basketball". Lakers Legend, Kobe Bryant, who is an avid UConn fan, was in attendance for the Final Four matchup. Bryant later tweeted at Ogunbowale, "Big Time shot Arike!"

Sunday night the Fighting Irish faced Mississippi State for the national title.

The view from my seat suggests that this Final Four had to be the greatest ever.

"It was the second or third time we beat them in the semifinal, that's been our lucky charm", McGraw said. "They're a great team-but we're better". No shade to Big Papi, but his famous hits against the Yankees came in the league championship series, not the World Series. "It's got to be the best one". And this was after she did the same thing in the semifinals to upset undefeated UConn.

The Bulldogs shot 37.3 percent from the field but uncharacteristically had 15 turnovers and missed seven free throws.

The two teams traded blows down the stretch but neither team could gain separation, as the game was knotted at 58 with 46 seconds left. I want profiles of the players and coaches, recaps of games, and sustained coverage that I can easily find on the homepage instead of having to click around for five minutes until I find it buried deep on the site. But Ogunbowale had the first of her two unforgettable shots, nailing a jumper over Collier and putting Notre Dame up 91-89.

"I was kind of falling toward the baseline", Ogunbowale said. "It's everyone's dream to get a game-winning shot, so you practice this in the gym when you're by yourself. So, I was prepared for this moment".

But the Fighting Irish (35-3) lived up to their name by outscoring the Bulldogs 44-28 in the second half, mounting the largest comeback in NCAA Championship history.

Trailing by 15 points midway through the third quarter, Notre Dame turned momentum as it had so many times before this season. The victory usually goes to the teams with the poise and the presence to make plays at the end, so congrats to the Irish.

That began a 28-6 run over the next 9 minutes to give the Huskies a 39-30 advantage. Notre Dame had won it all, and Ogunbowale had become a legend whom you'll probably hear little about after this week.