Mississippi State and Notre Dame set for women's title game

Mississippi State's women's basketball team huddles up during a practice in the Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio in preparation for its Final Four match-up against Louisville. The Bulldogs will face the Cardinals at 6 p.m. for a shot to return to the

Notre Dame needed a jumper from Arike Ogunbowale with 1 second left to overcome UConn in OT on Friday.

I don't know how much he's scheduled to do this season but I'd load up on him; good insight and, frankly, having a person of colour on the show kind of drags Sportsnet's baseball crew in the 1990s, which is very good to see.

Ogunbowale scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half and earned most outstanding player honors for the tournament. It was also Ogunbowale's second dramatic game-winner in three days.

However, Azubuike's Kansas lost to Villanova 95-79 in the NCAA Men semi-finals. Notre Dame advanced to its sixth title game and fifth in the last eight years.

Ogunbowale's father, Gregory, is from Nigeria, where he played soccer and rugby while her mother, Yolanda, is an American-born teacher who was a softball pitcher. The Irish had won their second national title, first since Ruth Riley's squad in 2001.

She's now done the same at Notre Dame, with not one, but two game-winning buzzer beaters in the NCAA Women's Final Four.

Just like their regular-season meeting, Notre Dame started out hot.

Vivians had 21 points for the Bulldogs, and McCowan 18 points and 17 rebounds. That's not what coach Muffet McGraw drew up, anyways.

Honorable mention goes to Jessica Shepard. Credit Notre Dame's zone defense, especially in the second half, for taking State out of its offensive rhythm.

McCowan had a tougher shooting night than usual, going 7-of-19. With the shot clock winding down, Roshunda Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a five-point lead.

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Ogunbowale's shot capped the biggest comeback in NCAA championship history.

How it was won: Notre Dame overcame a terrible first half in which it was held to a season-low 17 points.

With three seconds left, the Irish inbounded the ball. This time though, it was the first semifinal and the players were able to get to bed about three hours earlier than the previous year. The guard hit the game victor with one second left in overtime.

Ogunbowale's aggressiveness and Shepard's patience on offense keyed a 16-1 third-quarter run. Notre Dame won 61-58.

"How did she do that in two games?" said senior Kristina Nelson.

Really, no need for anyone to take the blame - unless you want to blame officials who collectively swallowed their whistles when Morgan William was hammered dribbling down the court with four seconds left, trying to get State in position to make the winning shot. Young, who had 32 points in the semifinal win over UConn, struggled all night and finished with six. "One More", Schaefer said.

Tied 58-58 after a dizzying back-and-forth which included Mississippi State's star center Teaira McCowan fouling out, the inbounds pass with:03 left wasn't supposed to go to Ogunbowale. The win ends a 17 year drought for Notre Dame's women's basketball team. "She made a great shot".

At the same time, McCowan and Victoria Vivians were powering the Bulldogs. In the final moments, Young found Ogunbowale on the inbound and she finished with a three-pointer for the win.

It was the second year in a row that Mississippi State (37-2) fell short in the title game.

As Vic Schaefer put it, "They're going to be so successful in life because of their grit, their determination, and how they embrace the grind of life, as well as the game of basketball".

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