Arike Ogunbowale (left) came up big.
Mississippi State faces the hard challenge of sustaining the success it has had during the brilliant careers of four Bulldog seniors, who transformed the women's basketball program from a Southeastern Conference also-ran to a national powerhouse in a few short years.
Notre Dame has provided a thrilling end to a wild NCAA women's basketball tournament. "They made the "one more" play", head coach Vic Schaefer said. It's on our national finalists ring a year ago - one more.
What's next: Notre Dame wins its second national title, brings back its entire starting lineup except Kathryn Westbeld next season and returns All-American forward Brianna Turner, who was one of four Notre Dame players lost to ACL tears.
The junior's shot won the Notre Dame Irish women their second NCAA title.
Mississippi State led 30-17 after the first half, but the Irish made it a tie game with a 24-11 third quarter. It's been even longer since a title game came down to a last-second shot. "I just ran to Jackie and said, 'Throw it to me, throw it to me'". Throughout his career, Bryant was notorious for his clutch shot making.
Even before Ogunbowale's heroics, which mimicked her winning shot in overtime against undefeated CT on Friday, the title game was just as marvelous a display of basketball as both national semifinals had been.
It was in the Final Four that the Bulldogs faced their first test of the tournament. The resiliency the Irish had shown all season while dealing with four season-ending knee injuries was there. They won their lone championship in 2001. The Bulldogs switched on the screen but weren't able to deny the pass to Ogunbowale.
It was also the final college game for the Bulldogs' senior quartet of Victoria Vivians, Blair Schaefer, Morgan William and Roshunda Johnson.
It was Vivians who leapt in front of Ogunbowale as she released a three-pointer, then turned and watched as history repeated.
Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale holds the national championship trophy as she celebrates with her teammates. She rose up, falling away from the basket like she's done in the gym so many times before. So I don't know. The Irish scored the game's first six points and led 10-4 five minutes in the game.
"Watching the shot again, again and again and seeing everyone's reaction was special", McGraw said. "She does stuff like that".
The buzzer-beater -.01 showed on the clock after Obunbowale's shot fell through - came after a Twitter exchange between Ogunbowale and Bryant, who was in attendance at the Women's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio. We didn't even get any. "I thought we defended it well right up to the point where the ball went through the net".
"There's nothing you can say to a college kid after experiencing this two years in a row that's going to make them feel any better about, you know", Geno Auriemma said. They led by as many 15 points in the third quarter before the Irish, who looked anemic in the first half, started climbing back into it. Marina Mabrey hit a 3-pointer from the wing and Young had a shot in the lane to tie it. When Cole was accepted by Notre Dame, the med-school aspirant apologized to her suitors. The Irish went just over 8 minutes without a point, missing seven shots and committing five turnovers during the game-changing run.
Young's shot over Schaefer on the left block tied the game with 44.7 seconds remaining. By her sophomore season she was a starter, averaging 15.9 points per game, 10th in the ACC, and scoring a career-high 32 points with nine rebounds in a Sweet 16 win over Ohio State.