TAMPA – Competing in its seventh NCAA title game, No. 1 Notre Dame fell one point short in its quest to defend the title, falling 82-81 to No. 1 Baylor. Senior guard Arike Ogunbowale poured in a game high 31 points, which marked the second-most ever in an NCAA championship game.
Fellow senior Marina Mabrey joined Ogunbowale on the All-Final Four Team. Mabrey scored 12 points in the fourth to finish with 21, and ultimately finished her career with 500 career assists.
Brianna Turner and Jessica Shepard each notched double-doubles yet again at the Final Four. Turner posted 12 points and 12 rebounds with a career-best five assists while Shepard went 11 points and 10 boards.
“Really frustrated. I’m sad for the seniors that we came that close after getting down 17, clawing our way back,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “We had so many missed opportunities on both ends of the floor. Defensively, the offensive rebounds we gave up just really lost us the game in the first quarter. We just didn’t come out ready. That was disappointing. I thought (Baylor’s Chloe) Jackson really was the key to the game. We really couldn’t guard her. (Kalani) Brown gave us a lot of trouble, as well. Those two really played well.”
“It was a great season,” McGraw added. “It was certainly a great career for Arike, Marina, Jess and Bri.”
How It Happened
Notre Dame started 1-of-16 from the field, while Baylor made seven of its first 10 shots, recording an 11-0 run and garnering a 25-14 lead. It marked just the fourth run of 10 or more against the Irish all season.
Later, facing its largest deficit of the game, down 33-16 at 6:38 in the second, the Irish showed their fighting spirit by firing off a 9-0 run. However, Baylor responded with a 6-0 run, pushing its lead back to 39-25. Mikayla Vaughn cut it to 41-31 with 12 seconds left in the half, until Baylor ran the length of the court and beat the buzzer to go up 43-31.
Notre Dame was 11-of-40 (.275) from the field at the midway point, while Baylor went 20-of-32 (.625), scoring 30 of its 43 points in the paint. Ogunbowale led the Irish with 14 points, followed by Turner with six points and eight boards.
An Ogunbowale trey at 6:10 in the third brought the deficit to single digits, leading to an Irish stretch in which they made six of seven from the field, cutting the score to 53-46. The Bears were able to answer with a 7-0 run, extending the lead back up to 60-46. Later, an Ogunbowale three at the buzzer made it 66-55 in favor of Baylor.
Down 11 points beginning the fourth, enter Marina Mabrey. The New Jersey native started the quarter with three free throws after being fouled beyond the arc, then connected on three treys from 7:21 to 5:18, tying the game at 74-all.
An Ogunbowale free throw at 3:17 then pushed the Irish ahead at 77-76. Later tied at 80-all with less than 15 seconds remaining, Baylor’s Chloe Jackson drove down the right side and connected on a layup with five seconds on the clock.
Notre Dame called a timeout to advance the ball then inbounded to Ogunbowale, who drove to the basket and was fouled on the shot with one second left. Ogunbowale went 1-of-2 from the line before the final buzzer sounded.
- Tonight marked the program’s seventh NCAA title game.
- The fivesome finished with a combined career 10,230 points, which stands as the most all-time in both Division I men’s and women’s basketball.
- Ogunbowale finished her career with 2,626 career points – the most in program history.
- During their 2019 NCAA Tournament run, Ogunbowale scored 155 total points, which ranks as the fourth most all-time. Last year, Ogunbowale scored 145 points in the Big Dance.
- Ogunbowale’s 54 points in the two games of the 2019 Final Four rank fourth all-time.
- Ogunbowale finished her career with 414 points in the NCAA Tournament from 2016-19, which ranks sixth. She becomes the seventh player in the history of the tournament to reach 400 career points. She joins Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee), Maya Moore (UConn), Breanna Stewart (UConn), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford), Diana Taurasi (UConn) and Brittney Griner (Baylor) of those that have reached 400.
- With 31 points, Ogunbowale earned her 27th game with 20-plus points, which ups her own record for most in a season at Notre Dame. It also marked her seventh 30-plus point game, which also breaks a record.
- Shepard earned her 19th double-double on the year, which ties Natalie Achonwa’s record for most in a single season at Notre Dame.
- With three assists tonight, Mabrey hit the 500-assist milestone, which ties Megan Duffy for the eighth most all-time. Mabrey also joins Lindsay Allen, Skylar Diggins, Niele Ivey, Mollie Peirick, Karen Robinson and Megan Duffy in the 1,000 points/500 assists club.
- Turner earned her 11th double-double of the season and 32nd of her career.
- Turner tallied 22 blocks for the NCAA Tournament, which tied for fourth all-time.
- Turner finished the 2019 NCAA Tournament with 75 rebounds, which tied for second all-time.