Notre Dame 61, Mississippi State 58, FINAL:
The Irish were down by 15 in the second half but a furious comeback gave them their second championship. Arike Ogunbowale was the hero again with a last-second three-pointer.
Ogunbowale, who also beat UConn with a final-second shot, scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half, helping Notre Dame overcoming a 15-point deficit.
Notre Dame was also down five with under two minutes remaining, but a three by Marina Mabrey and a Jackie Young jumper tied things up, leading to Ogumbowale’s heroics.
It is the second national championship for Notre Dame, and their first since 2001. The Irish were also runners up in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Notre Dame 58, Mississippi State 58, 0:03 4Q:
Dueling turnovers led to a wild play and a scramble, then faced with Notre Dame potentially having a breakaway layup to win the championship in the final seconds Teaira Mccowan had no choice but to foul at midcourt. She fouled out with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Notre Dame 58, Mississippi State 58, 0:40 4Q:
Just like that we are tied again, thanks to a three from Marina Mabrey and the tying bucket by Jackie Young.
Mississippi State 58, Notre Dame 53, 1:54 4Q:
On our way to a possible third overtime game in three tries in the Final Four, Roshunda Johnson hit her first shot of the night, a three-pointer that widened MSU’s lead to five.
Mississippi State 53, Notre Dame 51, 4:45 4Q:
What was once a 15-point MSU lead has turned into a fantastic back-and-forth battle down the stretch. Teaira Mccowan has kept Mississippi State going with eight points so far in the final period, including this contested bucket while fouled:
Mississippi State 41, Notre Dame 41, End 3Q:
Notre Dame has made a game of it after all. After trailing by 10 with 4:27 left in the third the Irish went on 10-0 run to knot things up. Arike Ogunbowale was the catalyst with nine points in the quarter.
AND. ☘️ ONE. ☘️— NCAA Women's BKB (@ncaawbb) April 1, 2018
HERE COME THE IRISH! pic.twitter.com/aDrG9yW3Mr
Mississippi State 40, Notre Dame 31, 4:27 3Q:
The Irish scored the first five points of the quarter to get within single digits but Mississippi State has held them at bay for the most part. Arike Ogunbowale, Friday night’s hero for Notre Dame, has five points so far in the quarter but just seven for the game on 3-for-14 shooting.
Mississippi State 30, Notre Dame 17, HALFTIME:
That second quarter was nearly all MSU, who outscored Notre Dame 13-3 in the period. Victoria Vivians has a game-high 14 points, and Teaira Mccowan has nine points and eight rebounds. Mccowan’s eighth rebound on Sunday was her 100th of this NCAA women’s tournament.
The previous record for rebounds in the NCAA women’s tourney was 75. Shattered.
Mississippi State 24, Notre Dame 17, 3:26 2Q:
Notre Dame went over eight minutes without scoring and just when the Irish thought they had a bucket in swooped Teaira Mccowan with this sweet block:
The All-American Mccowan has nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks so far after back-to-back 20-20 games.
Mississippi State 22, Notre Dame 14, 5:20 2Q:
We went over three minutes into the second quarter until a point was scored by either team. MSU and Notre Dame combined for six missed field goals and five turnovers in those first three minutes before Blair Schaefer nailed a three to widen Mississippi State’s advantage.
Mississippi State 17, Notre Dame 14, END 1Q:
Vivians and Shepard exchange field goals, then Mccowan gets on the board for the Bulldogs. A Notre Dame turnover gets Mississippi State within two after a Mccowan layup, and a foul by Shepard leads to a successful free throw by Mccowan to get them within one. Ogunbowale commits a turnover and William hits a layup for the Bulldogs, giving them the lead! Then another layup from Vivians, and the Bulldogs are in a 9-0 run with the lead! Notre Dame takes a timeout.
Mississippi State follows the timeout with a pair of misses, but also a pair of offensive rebounds, and they add to their lead with a Mccowan jumper. Notre Dame stops the bleeding with a show from Mabrey, and the final minute goes scoreless.
Notre Dame 10, Mississippi State 4, 4:15 1Q:
Notre Dame got on the board first after the Bulldogs missed a pair of shots when Shepard hit a jumper about a minute in. Young gets her first points of the game with a layup for the Fighting Irish. By that point, the Bulldogs already had three turnovers, and Notre Dame went up 6-0 with a jumper from Ogunbowale.
Mississippi State finally got on the board three minutes into the quarter with a jumper from Vivians. A foul from Schaefer led to a pair of successful free throws from Mabrey, then a Jumper from Danberry put the Bulldogs within four. Ogunbowale misses a three for Notre Dame, then Vivians misses one for Mississippi State. Five turnovers for the Bulldogs going into the first TV timeout, and that’s gonna hurt them big time.
Before the game
For the second straight year, an undefeated UConn basketball team won’t play in the National Championship game. Instead, it’ll be the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both teams enter the title game by way of overtime victories in the Final Four. Mississippi State beat Louisville by 10 points, and Notre Dame beat UConn from a two-point clutch shot by Arike Ogunbowale ahead of the buzzer.
This game will be a battle between teams with loads of talent. Jackie Young and Ogunbowale combined for 60 points against UConn, the league’s best defensive team. Both are capable of finding their way to the basket, launching from deep and getting to the foul line. Jessica Shepard is a strong forward who can battle in the paint, too. If the Irish can topple Gabby Williams, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, who can’t they stop?
Maybe the Bulldogs.
Connecticut had a lot of talent, but no player like Teaira McCowan. The 6’7 big had 21 points and 25 rebounds in the Final Four, and she’s here to swat any shots that come her way. Notre Dame can’t match that size, and they’ll have to find ways to compensate.
She isn’t the only problem Mississippi State has to offer. Victoria Vivians is a first-round WNBA draft pick-to be, who can shoot the lights out. She went 11-of-21 from the floor against Louisville, and hit 2-of-5 threes.
Notre Dame has its work cut out, though they’ve proved they can handle any goliath.
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 1 Mississippi State
Date: April 1
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN