"We had to do it for LC", Chloe Jackson, referring to Cox, told reporters after the game.
Two college basketball heavyweights square off in the Final Four for a second straight season with a trip to Sunday's national title game on the line.
The wild game featured 21 ties and 38 lead changes. Ogunbowale had 14 points in the fourth quarter. She made a shot with one second remaining to beat UConn in the semifinals, then hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with one-tenth of a second left to top the Bulldogs in the title game.
Jackson pumped in 26 points on 13-of-25 shooting for the Lady Bears (37-1), who joined CT and Tennessee as the only women's programs to win at least three national titles. She got tangled up with Kalani Brown on the defensive end and went down clutching her left knee with about a minute to go in the third quarter. The 11-point differential for the three games in the Final Four was the closest in the history of the tournament, topping last season's 15-point margin. She fell to the floor, and Mulkey knew right away that something was wrong - "I know she's hurt because that kid would have gotten up", Mulkey would say later in her postgame interview.
The Fighting Irish (35-4) had a chance to force overtime, but Arike Ogunbowale missed the first of two foul shots with 1.9 seconds remaining. What would these teams do for an encore after last year's instant classic?
"We all felt like it was way too businesslike".
Baylor, who trailed briefly in the game's opening minutes, built a 17-point lead in the second quarter.
That it did, as the Irish burst out of the gates in the fourth quarter, thanks to some hot shooting from the school's all-time leading 3-point shooter, Marina Mabrey. Ogunbowale won both games with dramatic buzzer-beaters.
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On Friday night, the Notre Dame women's basketball team took on UConn in the Final Four.
The Fighting Irish's inside duo were equally key in the 81-76 semifinal victory over UConn.
Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale had 23 points and six assists in Friday's victory against CT.
Notre Dame guard Jackie Young hasn't revealed her intentions yet. She was also the first to hoist the championship trophy.
"I think you're always looking at that one thing you could have done differently to make the difference in the game", said head coach Muffet McGraw.
Briana Turner played as solid as ever for the Irish finishing with a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Notre Dame's offense is so hard to beat; the Irish can strike from anywhere, and they never lose confidence. "Um, that's a good accomplishment", the Milwaukee native told High Post Hoops in a somber Notre Dame locker room after a 82-81 loss in the final. The year after the Lady Bears won their last title, she returned most of the team and they were upset by Louisville in the Sweet 16.