/Notre Dame’s miracle shot ends State dream

Notre Dame’s miracle shot ends State dream

They were all crying in different stages of grief, their eyes reddened from the earlier sobs following Arike Ogunboewale’s amazing shot that won Notre Dame a 61-58 victory at the national championship. Vic Schaefer began by thanking his seniors, and praising Notre Dame. He then said: “We’re up 5 with a minute and 40 seconds left. It is my responsibility to bring them home. I didn’t get ’em home. Blair Schaefer, Blair’s daughter, wept a lot more. Later, when her turn came to speak, she disagreed strongly with her father. Blair stated that Blair claimed it was her fault, as he failed to get them home. “At the end, we must go out and execute. “So I don’t think it should have been his fault, and I don’t think anyone should believe it’s his fault either.” State called timeout with 40 seconds remaining and tied at 58. Vic Schaefer devised a play to target Teaira McCowan at the low post. McCowan took advantage of the timeout and, with 28 seconds remaining, stepped around her defender to shoot a layup that she made 19 times out 20. It rolled off of the rim. Notre Dame rebounded. It was a brilliant play that was executed to perfection. It was just too late for her. Vic Schaefer is very generous to accept the blame. He couldn’t have written it better. State will win if Tea wins that shot. McCowan is not to blame for anything in the NCAA Tournament. In the championship game, she scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. With 109 rebounds in six of State’s games, she broke the NCAA Tournament record for rebounding by 34. There is no need to assign blame to anyone – except for officials who collectively sucked their teeth when Morgan William was being hammered, dribbling down court with just four seconds remaining, trying to get State to the winning shot. William wouldn’t do that. William stated, “There wasn’t a whistle so I don’t think there was a foul.” The ball was recovered by Notre Dame. McCowan fouled Jackie Young and Notre Dame called a stop to make the winning play. It was not even a play. Ogunboewale did a 20-foot, off-balance, one leg, falling away play that went through the hoop as if it had eyes. I thought I had a greater chance of correctly spelling her name than she did of making that shot. She made it. She did it, and it was unbelievable. Sometimes in sports you have to give credit. Ogunboewale deserves credit for scoring her second win in the Final Four. Notre Dame deserves credit for recovering from a 15 point third quarter deficit. It is due to Notre Dame’s excellent zone defense that State was unable to sustain its offensive rhythm in the second half. The Irish should be commended for doing a good job on McCowan at this point in her career. Also, credit Notre Dame coach Muffet Mcgraw for keeping her team together despite losing four players due to ACL injuries. Six players were used by the Irish against State. Six iron women were among them. Notre Dame deserves credit for having made one more play than State. It comes down to one more play. Ogunboewale hit a miraculous shot just minutes after State missed the chippie. State missed only 10 free throws. The Irish made 15 of the 17 free throws. This is a five-point swing for a three-point game. State deserves credit for reaching the national title game for the second consecutive year. McCowan deserves credit for one the most impressive individual tournament performances in NCAA history. Victoria Vivians deserves credit for her remarkable career, which culminated with 21 points and nine rebounds as well as four steals in the final game. Seniors were recruited to a then-mediocre program and averaged 31.5 wins per season. Vic Schaefer said, “They’re going be so successful in their life because of how they embrace both the grind of living and the game of basketball.” They gave their all… It hurts, but Notre Dame made one more play.” This is really what it boils down to. One more play. Notre Dame made it. State did not. It was painful. There have been many somber locker rooms I’ve been to, but none as somber as this one at Mississippi State.