COLUMBUS, Ohio – The day before the national semi-final of the NCAA tournament, Arike Ogunbowale was asked by Notre Dame after their team's first meeting with Connecticut this season, a loss to the Huskies in Hartford, Connecticut.
The guard narrowed his eyes in concentration before shaking her head. "The game was a while ago, so I do not remember much," she said flatly.
The game on Friday will be different. Ogunbowale will remember that for a long time.
No. The Notre Dame from Notre Dame prevailed on Friday night, 91-89, against the No. 1 of the tribe Connecticut. She was overtaken by Ogunbowale with a second advantage and was the second team to beat the Huskies in overtime with a Summer from the Final Four.
"That definitely was not the play call," said Ogunbowale. "My team confided the ball to me at the end of the game, it felt good, I did not know it went in, but it felt good … I think I'll be a little bit more Just a little bit. "
On Friday, the Huskies were released overtime for the seventh consecutive year, which keeps them from competing for a record 1
The Fighting Irish (34-3) advanced to the title game against compatriot Mississippi State, whose game delivered the first thriller of the evening to beat the Bulldogs No. 1 seed Louisville , 73-63.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw fought his way into the Final Four with just seven healthy fellows, having lost four times to the anterior cruciate ligament tears this season. But that did not put the Fighting Irish under any pressure or pressure.
"It was a kind of dogfight, I thought, except that both teams are giving blows," McGraw said. "Arike's great shot, unbelievable, she does it all the time in training, so we were not so surprised."
After a physical backlash, Notre Dame recorded two uncharacteristic Connecticut sales in the last 3:24 of the regulation, which had the second U-Conn. Coach Geno Auriemma turns his back on the game and puts both hands on his head in disbelief.
The Irish took a 77-74 lead and added it with a pair of free throws from Ogunbowale. A three-pointer from Napheesa Collier with 15 seconds left Connecticut (36-1) back in range, and Kia Nurse tied the game by stealing the Irish inbound pass and riding for a layup. Gabby Williams had the chance to win for the Huskies, but missed a jumper by two seconds.
In overtime, the Irish were two to Ogunbowale and Jessica Shepard rattled back-to-back layups and Collier missed a jumper on the other end. Fouls on Nurse and Williams sent Notre Dame to the free throw line and the Irish made all four attempts for a 88-84 lead with 1:40 left.
A jumper from Collier and a three-pointer from Crystal Dangerfield made it look as if the semi-final would go to a second overtime before Ogunbowale hit her shot.
Jackie Young led the Irishman with 32 points and Ogunbowale with 27 points. Collier had 24 points for Connecticut.
The national title game Sunday prevails against two usurpers from Connecticut. Mississippi State was the team that knocked out the Huskies last year and ended their 111-game winning streak.
"When you do something and it looks like it's so effortless, you go numb and forget that it's difficult," Auriemma said, making it 11 straight fours. "It's very, very difficult, there are no bad teams, no bad players, you can not be lucky in a national championship, you have to play great."
The state of Mississippi is looking for a loss of South Carolina in the 2017 title game the redemption. Notre Dame is looking for his second national title.
The Irishman scored 45.5 percent in the first half – good enough to keep up with Connecticut's unstoppable offensive. Young led Notre Dame by 13 points at half-time and had the support of 10 points from Shepard, but the Huskies got hot and contributed that momentum to the second half.
Connecticut set up a nine-point advantage at the beginning of the third quarter before Notre Dame hit his goals more consistently. The Irish expelled until they had a short lead with 2:21 in time.
The loss completes another notable season for Connecticut. The huskies chased their seventh undefeated campaign in program history.