For the second year in a row, we had plenty of drama in the NCAA Women’s Tournament national championship game. This year, Notre Dame was on the losing end.
Baylor capped off a 36-1 season with an 82-81 win over the defending national champion Fighting Irish, thanks to a Chloe Jackson scoop shot with 3.9 seconds remaining and a missed free throw from ND’s Arike Ogunbowale.
With the score tied at 80 following a pair of free throws by Notre Dame’s Jessica Shepard, Baylor had the ball for a final possession. Jackson turned the corner on a pick-and-roll and got to the rim for the winning points.
— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2019
Even after Jackson’s heroics, Notre Dame had a chance to tie it when its star Arike Ogunbowale went to the line for two shots with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Ogunbowale, the hero of last year’s Final Four and national title game, rimmed out on the first free throw. She tried to miss the second, but it went in, and Baylor was able to bleed out the final ticks.
Afterwards, a heartbroken Ogunbowale was seen heading to the ND locker room.
FINAL: The Defending National Champs come up one point short of going back-to-back. Senior Arike Ogunbowale leaves the court emotional after she misses one of her free throws in the final seconds of the game. Baylor 82-81 pic.twitter.com/0YLkTrqtYO
— Olivia Ray (@OliviaRayWSBT) April 8, 2019
Jackson was named the Most Outstanding Player for her 26-point performance. Ogunbowale was outstanding in defeat with a game-high 31 points.
The win for the Bears was even more meaningful considering the team lost one of its top players, Lauren Cox, to what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the second half.
Cox was able to return to the bench to watch the end of the game and celebrate with her team.