April 2 (UPI) — Arike Ogunbowale hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the 2018 NCAA women’s basketball title for Notre Dame Sunday against Mississippi State at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The trey gave the Fighting Irish a 61-58 victory against the Bulldogs. It was also Ogunbowale’s second dramatic game-winner in three days. She also hit the decisive jumper on Friday in the Irish’s 91-89 win against UConn.
“When I saw it travel a little bit, I thought [it was going in],” Ogunbowale told reporters after the game. “But the last play, there was just a lot going on. I can’t really describe it.”
Notre Dame began the title game on a 6-0 run, before Mississippi fought back for a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs pushed their advantage to 30-17 at halftime and led by 15 in the third quarter, before the Irish tied the game at 41-41 entering the final frame.
ARIKE OGUNBOWALE JUST WON NOTRE DAME THE 2018 NATIONAL TITLE! pic.twitter.com/ZCNhyF1uIf
— ESPN (@espn) April 2, 2018
The lead went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter, before Jackie Young tied the game at 58-58 with 46 seconds remaining for Notre Dame.
With three seconds left, the Irish inbounded the ball.
Young threw a short pass to Ogunbowale, who ran down the sideline while being closely guarded. Still, she managed to throw up a fadeaway 3-pointer. The shot sailed high above the rim before quickly falling and swishing at the buzzer.
Notre Dame’s bench was shocked by the victory and couldn’t contain its excitement, rushing the court to mob the junior guard from Milwaukee, Wis.
“I’m just so speechless at this point to see this team come back from yet another huge deficit. To see Arike make an incredible shot,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said after the game. “To see the resilience of a team that never gave up. Mississippi State was a tremendous defensive team. They really gave us a lot of problems in the first half. We lost our composure a little bit but we got it back. And we just kept fighting. Thank you Jesus on Easter Sunday.”
Ogunbowale scored 18 points for Notre Dame. Jessica Shepard led the Irish with 19 points. Victoria Vivians scored a game-high 21 points and had nine rebounds for Mississippi State.