NCAA Basketball Championship Live Stream: With a last-second jumper by Arike Ogunbowale, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have captured the 2018 National Championship, beating the Mississippi State Bulldogs 61-58.
The Irish struggled in the first half, trailing 30-17 but turned up the pressure on Teaira McCowan, Victoria Vivians and the Bulldogs squad, fouling out McCowan with three seconds left in the game.
Arike Ogunbowale scored 18 points in the win, earning the Most Outstanding Player award and passed Ruth Riley for the most points scored in an NCAA tournament with 145 this year. Ogunbowale’s big shot was her second in a row after she drained a jumper to knock out UConn in the Final Four on Friday night.
Notre Dame’s run to a national championship is especially prominent as four players on the team suffered ACL injuries earlier in the season. This marks their second national title in program history, the first won in 2001 and both under head coach Muffet McGraw.
Arike Ogunbowale did it again. The Notre Dame junior had downed UConn in the Final Four with a miracle jumper in a tie game. Mississippi State put her in an even tougher position. Bang.
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament had brought plenty of drama to Columbus, Ohio, in a Final Four featuring both games going to overtime. The championship matched the drama. The Fighting Irish beat the Bulldogs 61-58 on a stunning 3-pointer off an inbounds play by Ogunbowale, the 5-8 star guard who got them here.
The referees added 0.1 seconds back to the clock, but it was for naught. The Irish had won their second national title, first since Ruth Riley’s squad in 2001. Ogunbowale, who was named the Most Outstanding Player, now goes down in Notre Dame lore with Riley.
Mississippi State led 30-17 after the first half, but the Irish made it a tie game with a 24-11 third quarter.
Ogunbowale, the team’s leading scorer, finished with 18 points on 6-for-21 shooting. That last one more than made up for any inefficiency. Forward Jessica Shepard, tasked with matching up against 6-7 Bulldogs center Teaira McCowan, added a team-high 19 points and six rebounds.