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The Notre Dame women's basketball team rallied in its championship game against Mississippi State on Sunday night, winning with a successful shot in the final moments. It was the second buzzer beater for Arike Ogunbowale in as many games: On Friday night, she helped sink UCONN, the powerhouse of women's basketball. Yamiche Alcindor talks to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post.
Tonight, as you probably know, is the men's national championship game in the NCAA.
But this weekend already provided plenty of thrills in the women's title game, as Notre Dame won the championship with buzzer-beaters in back-to back victories.
Yamiche Alcindor has the story.
Notre Dame trailed Mississippi State for much of the game last night, and, in fact, were down by 15 points earlier. Notre Dame rallied. And the teams were tied with three seconds to go.
Here's what happened.
Ogunbowale for the win. Good!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Arike Ogunbowale wins the national championship for Notre Dame!
It was the second buzzer-beater for Arike Ogunbowale in as many games. She sank the powerhouse of women's basketball, UConn, on Friday night.
Ava Wallace of The Washington Post was in Columbus, Ohio, for the game. She joins me now.
So, Ava, tell me a little bit about how big of a moment was this for Notre Dame.
For Notre Dame, it was huge.
It was coach Muffet McGraw's second national title. It came 17 years to the day exactly, on April 1, after her first one. It kind of shows you a little bit of the longevity of the program there.
And with that win, actually, Muffet McGraw becomes one of six coaches in women's basketball who has multiple national titles to her name. So, it's huge for their program. They get McDonald's All-Americans every year. And they're always pretty much a strong team.
But to get two national titles almost two decades apart from each other is a pretty big deal for them.
And you said that this was a huge game. But Notre Dame wasn't favored to win this, even though they were a top seed. Help me understand Why.
So, UConn was — even though, in the Final Four, all four number one seeds were there in Columbus this weekend, but UConn was kind of the number one overall seed. They were the best of all of the number ones.
And, of course, Notre Dame took them down. They hadn't beaten them in seven tries before that game on Friday. And they upset them on Friday night in Columbus, and then had to take down Mississippi State, which, again, it was another number one seed, but they were just a little bit of a better number one seed than Notre Dame.
So the Fighting Irish weren't expected to win this one, and they had to do it in the last three seconds.
And UConn has been a powerhouse for years. They have dominated. What does it say, though, that UConn for at least the second year has not been able to get all the way to the title?
We asked Geno Auriemma, UConn's coach, about this a lot over the weekend and after he lost and even before he lost, just with the presence of the teams there. And what he would say to us that there is definitely a closing gap in women's basketball. Just you're seeing more programs get to the Final Four weekend. Louisville hadn't been in a while. It was their fourth Final Four — or — excuse me — their third Final Four. And Mississippi State, of course, back in the Final Four for the second time. So it kind of speaks a lot to the sport in general, just that they got knocked out in the national semifinals. There are teams that are hungry, of course. You always want to beat UConn, but also teams now that have the talent to actually do it.
Well, thank you so much for joining me, Ava.
And congratulations to the Notre Dame women.
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