Heart of two eternal champions: Baylor 82, Notre Dame 81



POINT OF SCORE

The emotion of victory. The agony of defeat.

Rarely in a 12-month period, either team has experienced a rollercoaster of both, as did Notre Dame's women's basketball after their 82-81 loss to Baylor on Sunday night in the NCAA Championship game .

A year after the fight against the Irish guard. Arike Ogunbowale She herself became a basketball legend with two field goals that won in the Final Four in victories against UConn and Mississippi State, the senior All-American had the ball in his hands again in the foul line with two free throws , Notre Dame losing 82-80 and 1.9 seconds remaining.

Ogunbowale, who had converted 33 of his 36 free throws in this year's NCAA Tournament, lost the first and inadvertently converted the second, avoiding any chance of a return basket. Baylor then ran the clock in two pbades within limits to prevent the head coach Muffet McGraw & # 39; s Fighting against the Irish to repeat as national champions.

Meanwhile, Baylor Chloe jackson became the Ogunbowale of the 2019 final with 26 points, highlighted by an aggressive momentum of speed and a bench in a position just after the stretched arm of all times of the shot-blocker from Notre Dame Brianna Turner For an 82-80 lead with 3.9 seconds left.

True to the past and to the recent NCAA tournament, Notre Dame stayed behind with 17 in the first half, but made another brilliant rally in the second half, scoring 50 points after the interval, highlighted by three guards in the fourth quarter Marina Mabrey. Notre Dame's leading scorer of all time, Ogunbowale, finished with 31 points, while Mabrey added 21, notably 4 of 8 beyond the arc.

Baylor was in control for most of the contest, but there was a crucial turning point with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter and the Bears sailing with a 62-50 advantage. Baylor 6-4 junior Lauren Coxwho joined 6-7 Kalani Brown In the most formidable front line in the nation, he suffered a serious injury to his left leg during a rebound battle.

Less than Cox for the rest of the game, the Bears still took a 66-55 lead in the fourth quarter, but an Ogunbowale with three points on the horn – a family view – became a sign that Notre Dame was on the prowl with another rally. Also, two nights before, UConn had an almost identical lead (64-55) over the Irish with 7:55 remaining before dropping 81-76. Notre Dame finished again with 81, but this time in the final short.

The Bears continued to keep Notre Dame at bay with a 70-63 lead, but three Mabrey's in a 2:05 span knotted the score to 74 with 5:18 remaining. A free kick by Ogunbowale gave the Irish their first lead (77-76) from 3-2. It would also be your final advantage.

Brown turned in at 2:34 for a 78-77 lead from Baylor, and a Jackson jumper at the 35-second mark put the Bears back 80-78. Two free throws from the senior Irish striker. Jessica Shepard with 17 seconds remaining tied again before the excellent individual play of Jackson.

Fighting Irish opened with their typical slow start, converting just one of their first 16 field goal attempts, while Baylor had 8 of 11 to build a quick 17-7. The nearest Notre Dame arrived. The rest of the first half was 21-14, and Baylor extended his lead in the first 20 minutes to 33-16. Especially demoralizing was in the first quarter that the Brown and Cox tandem only had four points, while the rest of the team was 10 of 14 from the field, led by Jackson's effort of 5 out of 5.

With the score 43-31 at halftime, the Bears dominated the paint with a 30-8 lead, but the biggest surprise was that they defeated Notre Dame in their own game by keeping a 14-2 lead in the points. break fast.

Notre Dame began to show flickers of another comeback when it reduced the deficit to 53-46 at the 4:15 mark of the third quarter with an Ogunbowale basket, but Baylor responded with a 7-0 run to keep the Irish at bay , until Cox's injury.

Three point game

1. Heart of two champions

Not taking anything away from the wonderful effort of Notre Dame, Baylor deserved to win. He dominated the action for three quarters, and then, when his best player at both ends of the court was left out of the final 11:22 and the Bears fell behind and incurred fouling problems, they found incredible mental strength to end the victory. He reminded us of the same toughness that Fighting Irish showed last year and overcame so many setbacks to win it all. The personification of his resolution was Baylor freshman NaLyssa Smith, who as a replacement for Cox scored 14 points, six rebounds and one blocked shot.

Like Ali-Frazier at his best, as the decades pbad, both teams will be champions forever, while their exploits grow (deservedly) with the pbadage of time.

2. No final touch this time

While Cox's injury was the first major turning point in the contest, the final 3:18 were equally crucial after the Irish advanced 77-76. The Irish were not "playing not to lose" and attacked aggressively, but could not build the coveted two-goal lead he made in the final minutes against UConn.

Perhaps the best thing is to reflect how hard Notre Dame fought was his 44-38 rebounding advantage – including 21-14 on offense – against the nation's No. 1 team in the rebounding margin at approximately 17 per game. While there is much talk about the size of Baylor, equally impressive is its perimeter speed and recovery speed. It's as if the NFL QBs had such a small window to complete pbades. No one seems open, and virtually all points must be earned.

3. Prepare for reconstruction

UConn, Baylor and Notre Dame were the top three preeminent programs in the women's game of this decade, but the years 2020 will begin with the reconstruction. Time will put into context what is missing Notre Dame, a spectacular initial clbad of four people, very similar to the way we speak today with nostalgia about the Irish football teams of 1988-89 who won a national title and were lost one second.

Depending on junior Jackie young, who has a close decision on whether to become a professional or return, the Irish could still be of the 16th caliber next year. Without it … it just starts with going back to the NCAA Tournament and starting from there.


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