FILE - In this Monday, April 1, 2019, file photo, Baylor players celebrate their win over Iowa in a regional final in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. These Lady Bears certainly know how to win, and they’re having fun all the way to their first women’s NCAA Final Four since 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Baylor Wins National Title

The Baylor Lady Bears had a 17-point lead that they nearly watch slip away as last year’s Notre Dame hero Arike Ogunbowale headed to the charity stripe with 1.9 seconds left on the clock. Last season in the title game, Ogunbowale hit a tough contested three that won her team a national title. But this year, Ogunbowale could not secure the win for her team.

Ogunbowale missed her first attempt and accidentally made her second instead of giving her team a chance to secure the rebound and put the ball back up to tie the game. Ogunbowale’s career ended as Baylor inbounded the ball to secure the 82-81 National Title.

What Happened?

It was the same matchup in the title game as the 2012 NCAA Women’s National Championship game that ended with the same result.

The Lady Bears started and ended the game with baskets from a red-hot Chloe Jackson. Jackson scored a career-high 26 points. Baylor led the game 25-15 at the end of the first quarter and headed into the locker room leading the defending national champions by 12 at the half. The momentum was on Baylor’s side. Head coach Kim Mulkey was determined to lead her school to its third national title.

At the end of the third quarter, the Fighting Irish trailed by 12 points. Then, there was a shift in momentum when Baylor’s junior star Lauren Cox went down with a gruesome knee injury. An injury that would take her out of the game escorted by wheelchair. From there, Notre Dame began to orchestrate their comeback.

With just 4:26 left to play, Notre Dame finally tied the game at 76. Then, with 3.9 seconds left on the clock, Chloe Jackson laid it in to put the Lady Bears up by two.

With just under fours seconds left to play, Ogunowale headed to the hoop and was fouled under the basket. There was no one else that the Fighting Irish would have rather had on the free-throw line than their 80 percent free throw shooter and one year removed national title hero, Arike Ogunowale. But she was unable to sink both of the free throws that her team would need to send this national title game into overtime.

Therefore, Baylor won 82-81.

Coach Mulkey and the Lady Bears received Baylor’s third national title in 14 years.

Even though Cox was unable to share the moment on the floor in the final seconds of play, her team made sure to let her know she contributed to this win and this season in a huge way.

This Baylor Lady Bears team had a goal in mind all season long. On Sunday, they were able to make their dream a reality.

About Kara Spierto

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