It was a shot of a lifetime and junior guard Arike Ogunbowale nailed it for Notre Dame.
She threw a 3-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left on the clock, beating Mississippi State 61-58, and giving Notre Dame its second women’s basketball title Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio.
Notre Dame scored its first title 17 years ago — also on Easter Sunday.
“We just kept fighting, and thank you, Jesus, on Easter Sunday,” Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw told The New York Times.
Ogunbowale was named the most outstanding player in the come-from-behind victory. She scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half.
Mississippi State dominated much of the game. In the second quarter, the Irish only had three points — setting an NCAA Tournament record for the fewest points in a period.
In the third quarter, Notre Dame was down 15 points, and with less than 2 minutes in the game, they were down by five.
Tied as the clock ran down, The Associated Press reports:
“Mississippi State star Teaira McCowan missed a layup with 27.8 seconds left, and both teams turned the ball over in a wild sequence. McCowan fouled out of the game stopping an Irish fast break after consecutive turnovers and that set up the final 3 seconds.
After Ogunbowale’s clutch shot, the officials huddled and put one-tenth of a second on the clock. A couple of Mississippi State players had already headed for the locker room, while Notre Dame players celebrated.
The court was cleared, and Mississippi State tossed a futile inbounds pass into the lane as the buzzer sounded.”
It was the second straight game that Ogunbowale hit a shot in the final second to carry the Irish. On Friday, her jumper with one second remaining in overtime knocked off previously unbeaten UConn in the semifinals.
Notre Dame had lost the title game four times over the last seven years. It nearly ended the same way for the Irish, had they not had the biggest game in the final since the women’s tournament began in 1982.