The Baylor Bears came into the Championship game as the No. 1 overall seed. However, everyone talked about their opponent, defending champion Notre Dame, heading into the game.
The ladies from Waco didn’t care and jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter. The Bears led by 11 at the end of 10 minutes, and almost halfway through the second period Baylor led by 17.
Notre Dame looked outmatched and overpowered. The Fighting Irish missed shot after shot in the first half, but they rebounded in the final 20 minutes.
Last year, Arike Ogunbowale played hero for Notre Dame by hitting a game-winning shot to take the 2018 title. This year, she helped bring the team all the way back from down 17.
Before we get to Ogunbowale’s chance late this time, let’s go to Chloe Jackson. She led the team with 26 points in the game, and none were more important than her final bucket.
So, the stage was set: six seconds left, Irish trailing 82-80. Timeout called. Ball advanced. Inbound it to Ogunbowale. She drives baseline and gets fouled. Two shots to tie the game.
Then, this happened.
The hero from a year ago for Notre Dame, Ogunbowale, misses the first of two attempts. Still down 82-80, she goes back to the line and hits the second.
With Baylor up 82-81, Notre Dame needed to foul. The only problem, the Irish didn’t foul enough to have the Bears in the bonus.
Under three seconds left, Notre Dame fouled once, but they needed another. The second foul would not come, as the ball was hit as it was inbound and the final 0.3 seconds ticked off the clock.
Baylor’s third national championship in school history started out as a blow out, but it ended as with a sigh of relief.
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