By Aaron Horvath
One in rhythm.
The other … well, not so much.
One common trait both shots share — they went in.
That was 365 days ago (and by the time you read this, probably more) and it is clearly evident that the Irish are still on a mission to prove the doubters wrong.
Arike Ogunbowale’s heroics led to the second NCAA Title in program history and the Irish have overcome challenge after challenge thus far while defending their throne, reaching the Final Four for the ninth time after an 84-68 win over Stanford in comeback fashion.
With those two shots the Irish went from being a “team of destiny” to the “team to beat.”
Like all champions, they responded and in the process continued to grow and develop as a team.
This team’s evolution was one to behold. After cutting down the nets in April 2018, Kathryn Westbeld and Kristina Nelson exhausted their eligibility, leaving the team leadership to the five-headed group of Ogunbowale, Marina Mabrey, Jessica Shepard, Brianna Turner and lone junior, Jackie Young.
As the season progressed, leaders emerged and the team’s focus began to narrow as they checked off goals throughout the year.
34 wins (so far) — check.
ACC regular season title — check.
ACC Tournament title — check.
No. 1 Seed in NCAA Championship — check.
Final Four — check.
NCAA Title — check back in a week.
One thing is for certain, this team will continue to claw even when they aren’t getting the bounces.
All they ask for is a shot …
… and we all know someone who can make one (or two).