How Notre Dame women’s basketball won the NCAA championship in the final 3 seconds

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, as you probably know,
is the men’s national championship game in the NCAA. But this weekend already provided plenty of
thrills in the women’s title game, as Notre Dame won the championship with buzzer-beaters
in back-to back victories. Yamiche Alcindor has the story. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Notre Dame trailed Mississippi
State for much of the game last night, and, in fact, were down by 15 points earlier. Notre Dame rallied. And the teams were tied with three seconds
to go. Here’s what happened. ANNOUNCER: Ogunbowale for the win. Good! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) ANNOUNCER: Arike Ogunbowale wins the national
championship for Notre Dame! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It was the second buzzer-beater
for Arike Ogunbowale in as many games. She sank the powerhouse of women’s basketball,
UConn, on Friday night. Ava Wallace of The Washington Post was in
Columbus, Ohio, for the game. She joins me now. So, Ava, tell me a little bit about how big
of a moment was this for Notre Dame. AVA WALLACE, The Washington Post: For Notre
Dame, it was huge. It was coach Muffet McGraw’s second national
title. It came 17 years to the day exactly, on April
1, after her first one. It kind of shows you a little bit of the longevity
of the program there. And with that win, actually, Muffet McGraw
becomes one of six coaches in women’s basketball who has multiple national titles to her name. So, it’s huge for their program. They get McDonald’s All-Americans every year. And they’re always pretty much a strong team. But to get two national titles almost two
decades apart from each other is a pretty big deal for them. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And you said that this was
a huge game. But Notre Dame wasn’t favored to win this,
even though they were a top seed. Help me understand Why. AVA WALLACE: Yes. So, UConn was — even though, in the Final
Four, all four number one seeds were there in Columbus this weekend, but UConn was kind
of the number one overall seed. They were the best of all of the number ones. And, of course, Notre Dame took them down. They hadn’t beaten them in seven tries before
that game on Friday. And they upset them on Friday night in Columbus,
and then had to take down Mississippi State, which, again, it was another number one seed,
but they were just a little bit of a better number one seed than Notre Dame. So the Fighting Irish weren’t expected to
win this one, and they had to do it in the last three seconds. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And UConn has been a powerhouse
for years. They have dominated. What does it say, though, that UConn for at
least the second year has not been able to get all the way to the title? AVA WALLACE: Yes. We asked Geno Auriemma, UConn’s coach, about
this a lot over the weekend and after he lost and even before he lost, just with the presence
of the teams there. And what he would say to us that there is
definitely a closing gap in women’s basketball. Just you’re seeing more programs get to the
Final Four weekend. Louisville hadn’t been in a while. It was their fourth Final Four — or — excuse
me — their third Final Four. And Mississippi State, of course, back in
the Final Four for the second time. So it kind of speaks a lot to the sport in
general, just that they got knocked out in the national semifinals. There are teams that are hungry, of course. You always want to beat UConn, but also teams
now that have the talent to actually do it. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Great. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Ava. AVA WALLACE: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: And congratulations to the
Notre Dame women.

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