The Women’s National Championship game that was held Sunday night in Florida was one of the most exciting games that has ever been played. Baylor and Notre Dame met in the championship game that was filled with highlights and excitement, just as we predicted. In the end the Lady Bears prevailed and brought home their first title since 2012.
The Lady Bears jumped out to a massive first quarter lead with a score of 25-13. Baylor seemed to have all of the components needed to cruise to an easy victory. The impressive play did not stop for Baylor as they went into halftime with an impressive 62% shooting from the field and still maintaining their 12 point lead. At one point during the second quarter the Baylor Lady Bears were up by as much as 17. With the height advantage in favor of Baylor, Notre Dame had no response.
Coming out of halftime Notre Dame put some runs together getting as close as 7 points in the third quarter, but the real momentum did not occur until late in the third quarter. An injury to Baylor star Lauren Cox in the third quarter brought the team their own challenges. Losing Cox was a big blow to their defense. Cox was the leading blocker for the bears and the second highest rebounder on the team. With the injury coming to Cox, Baylor had to rely on freshman NaLyssa Smith. With the loss of Cox, Notre Dame focused their defense/offense attack on Smith and provided much needed spark to make a run.
Notre Dame was in need of a spark and two players stepped up to the plate and delivered in a big way. Marina Mabrey was the first player to step up. She was a threat from deep that eventually was the player to tie them up late in the game. In my opinion, she was the player of the game for Notre Dame. Without her, that comeback would have been stopped in its tracks. The second player to step up was star, Arike Ogunbowale. Coming down the stretch she was clutch and performed as every all-star should. However, she missed the free throw to send the game into overtime and eventually led to the loss of the Fighting Irish. She had to make both free-throws to send the game to overtime, which in my opinion the Irish would have won. However, she missed the first and made the second which sealed the win for the Lady Bears.
The term “survive” started to apply to the Lady Bears towards the end of the game. With foul trouble, injuries, and the momentum shifting to Notre Dame, guard Chloe Jackson stepped up and was the player to be the reason the Bears won the game. Chloe Jackson would be named MVP, which is very fitting for the player who scored 26 points and made the go ahead basket with 3.9 seconds remaining in the game that would eventually be deemed as the game winning shot.
Overall, the game was one of the most exciting games to have ever been played in the Women’s Championship game. The Lady Bears held off the Fighting Irish 82-81 to win the championship. This title was also Kim Mulkey’s third as head basketball coach for the Lady Bears which make them the third most decorated team with three national championships.
Featured Photo: AllAmericanThings.com
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