Arike Ogunbowale drains ANOTHER game-winner lifting Notre Dame to national title

Photo Credit: Tony Dejak/AP

Remember what they said about lightning not striking twice in the same place? Well, disregard that maxim because Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale had other ideas.

After hitting the game winner with time to spare to eliminate UConn from the Final Four, what would she do for an encore? Ogunbowale made a three-point buzzer beater against Mississippi State to lift her Fighting Irish to a 61-58 championship victory.

If she was trying to fufill Kobe Bryant’s challenge, something tells us the back-to-back game winners in Final Fours will certainly be enough to make the Black Mamba proud. She wears that #24 for a reason…

It is only fitting that Ogunbowale was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player given she has her fingerprints on this year’s tournament’s two most indelible moments.

 

Phenomenal for women’s basketball. Three exciting games. I hope the ratings reflect it.

 

Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame head coach

Lost in the hoop-la of the game-winner was the fact that the Fighting Irish had to come from behind to even be in position for a victory. After being outscored 13-3 in the second quarter, Notre Dame came back on Mississippi State by outscoring them 24-11 in the third quarter.

 

To do that twice in one weekend, the biggest stage in college basketball, is crazy.

 

–Arike Ogwunbowale (per ESPN)

What many fans will take away from this game is Ogwunbowale’s game-winner. Overlooked by some will be the fact that she scored 18 points along with 19 courtesy of Jessica Shepard.

Photo Credit: AP/Tony Dejak

On the Mississippi State side of things, it will be looked at as another championship opportunity come short, as was the case last year against South Carolina. Despite a combination of 39 points from Victoria Vivians (21) and Teaira McCowan (18), no other Bulldog including Morgan William or Roshunda Johnson tallied more than six points.

While Notre Dame’s women’s basketball championship is the first one in 17 years for the illustrious athletics program, Starkville’s quest for its first title in any sport continues.

 

You’re up five with 1:40, it’s my job to get them home, and I didn’t get them home. It’s always been my philosophy, up four, down four, as a head coach, it’s my job to get them home inside of four minutes. And I didn’t get them home today. I’ll wear that maybe for the rest of my career.

 


Vic Schaefer

 

We wanted to defend it, but we didn’t deny the ball. Me and Ro was supposed to deny her and not let her catch it. So she caught the ball and we got shut off, and she made it.

 

–Victoria Vivians on Ogunbowale’s game-winner

It has to be heartbreaking for the players, coaches, alumni, boosters, fans, etc. to come so close yet so far two consecutive seasons. But there is a sure-fire way to not lose in the title game in back-to-back seasons – do not play in the championship game in back-to-back seasons. Playing in the title game back-to-back years in an environment where that school from Storrs is always lurking is an accomplishment in itself.

Meanwhile, with the tournament in the books, all attention now turns to the WNBA Draft next week – a draft in which Vivians is projected to be a first-round pick according to this draft board.

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