Lady Bears win third national championship in program history

Lady Bears win third national championship in program history

Lady Bears win third national championship in program history

Jackson pumped in 26 points on 13-of-25 shooting for the Lady Bears (37-1), who joined CT and Tennessee as the only women's programs to win at least three national titles.

"I had to hold myself back from jumping up on some of the plays, " Cox told the fans. But the Lady Bears, led by the ever-poised Chloe Jackson, kept their composure.

"Guys, that wasn't a fluke out there".

"Well, the old school won a national championship". I still couldn't. It's not a celebration when you're supposed to win, and you win by 20.

The Lady Bears led by 12 points early in the third when Cox, a junior, and teammate Kalani Brown got tangled up going for a rebound under the Notre Dame basket. Only UConn's Geno Auriemma (11) and former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt (eight) have won more. "They continue to encourage her and she came alive in the second half".

On the men's end, the four remaining teams are Virginia, Auburn, Texas Tech and Michigan State. God is good. He blessed these kids. "We controlled that game from the start till the time she went off the floor".

"I'm sitting there with my mouth wide open", Mulkey said.

Maybe all that is part of why, when Cox went down with a leg injury in the third quarter Sunday, Mulkey admitted she nearly wanted to cry - but composed herself and took charge of her team. I needed to make them understand, We're going to still win this basketball game.

The third quarter was the surge for Notre Dame. There's a reason she is the undisputed master of triple doubles in college basketball: she is dominant in every aspect of the game.

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"It's hard. It's so hard to win championships, you can be the favorite and not win them", Mulkey said. "We had to come together as a family". Chloe Jackson provided the tiebreaking layup with 3.9 seconds left, but the Irish had a chance to force overtime until Arike Ogunbowale (ah-REE'-kay oh-goon boh-WAH'-lee) missed the first of two free throws.

Calling time out, Mulkey chose to go with the same "5 game" play that beat OR in the final seconds of Friday's 72-67 semifinal win. "I trusted her. There's no tomorrow, so why sit them on the bench?"

Ogunbowale hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer, then converted a traditional 3-point play with 9:06 remaining, cutting the Irish deficit to 66-61. "That right there gave me motivation", Ursin said. She watches her play and says she wants to impact games in multiple ways like the @LA_Sparks star.

The Lady Bears were primed to run away with the game as Notre Dame struggled to score.

Cox, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, had eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the game at the time of her exit. So she looked to her coach, Muffet McGraw.

"Absolutely", Jackson said. "I believed it".

Jackson added of Cox, "We had to finish the job for her". Kalani Brown runs off the court to hug injured Cox, who re-entered the arena late in the fourth quarter and proceeded to cheer on her team.

"That kid, if she didn't get hurt, would have been the No. 1 probably pick in the (WNBA) draft next year", Mulkey said. The whole time, she was coaching on the sideline. That speaks volumes of her character. The year after the Lady Bears won their last title, she returned most of the team and they were upset by Louisville in the Sweet 16. "When Coach called my name, I just knew it was my time to shine". Even the current players who had never played with Scott but knew her and her inspiring story, felt the loss. "A national championship is what I came here for". And my picture's going to be on that wall (at the Ferrell Center).

"It feels unbelievable", Smith said.

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