Rewatch every great moment from Notre Dame-Mississippi State

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 01: Arike Ogunbowale
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 01: Arike Ogunbowale /

Notre Dame had to overcome a 15 point second half deficit in Monday’s title game, but the Irish were actually the ones to strike first.

Mississippi State turned it over five times early on as the Irish jumped out to an 8-2 lead. They were still on top 12-6 moments later.

Then the tide began to turn, setting the stage for one of the best comebacks in college basketball history.

One at a time, here’s every great moment from Monday’s title game:

Teaira McCowan sized up Marina Mabrey for the best kind of block — emphatic, yet managing to knock it out of bounds off the player that took the shot.

Notre Dame scored just three points in the entire second quarter. Somehow in that context, Jessica Shepard made it look easy driving, spinning and finishing over McCowan.

Victoria Vivians was fantastic in the first half. The teams hadn’t settled all the way in offensively by this point, but Vivians made the best of each opportunity, scoring even off of broken plays.

Mississippi State didn’t get to turn to their signature dribble weave action on offense or the snug pick and rolls they unleashed earlier in the tournament. This quick overload gave the Irish some trouble, though, and freed Vivians for some clean looks.

The Irish wasted no time out of the break to go right back to Shepard, who wasn’t shying away from opportunities to go right at McCowan.

Marina Mabrey struggled in this game against Mississippi State’s ball pressure but came through when her team really needed it. First, she got a steal and finished a three-point play to send a clear message early in the third: The Irish weren’t going away.

The Bulldogs responded after the Irish initially chipped away at their lead. Vivians drilled a three from the right wing to push the lead all the way to 15 near the midway point of the third.

From just about the same spot, Vivians missed on the next trip down. The ensuing transition opportunity for Notre Dame may have been the moment that got Arike Ogunbowale going.

After that Vivians triple, the Irish closed the third on a 16-1 run. Ogunbowale clearly wasn’t going to be bothered by her 1-10 start.

Vic Schaefer opted to sit McCowan down for the closing seconds of the third with three fouls. Muffet McGraw saw an opportunity to re-insert Jessica Shepard, also with three fouls at the time, for her team’s final offensive possession.

Just as they started the third, the Irish made a point to get it to Shepard. Jackie Young took on more ball-handling duties in the second half. She found Shepard inside with a size advantage against Vivians.

Remember that point about Vivians from the first half? She kept finding a way to make plays, even as her team was mired in an eight-minute stretch without a single made field goal. This next shot wasn’t easy, but who are we to doubt one of the best scorers in the country?

Running another point back from earlier: Mabrey’s final line wasn’t great, but she made plays when it mattered most.

About three minutes into the fourth, Mississippi State had a moment. The game could have gotten out of hand once again. Vivians missed a short jumper, but McCowan cleaned it up and was fouled.

Mississippi State made it really tough on Notre Dame’s guards just to dribble, let alone get to their spots to deliver the ball inside to Shepard. But again, when the Irish found her, they were going to get something good.

The Irish had done it. They clawed their way back. It was a one-possession game inside two minutes, and Mississippi State appeared to have nothing going with the shot clock winding down. Enter Roshunda Johnson.

Needing a bucket, you knew the Irish were going to look to Shepard. Young found her, but Vivians came over on the double. Jazzmun Holmes had to help the helper, leaving Mabrey open to do what she had been doing all tournament.

Jackie Young was unstoppable in the semifinal against UConn. She didn’t go for 30-plus in the final. But don’t sleep on the importance of her skill level at her size, which enabled her to come through with one of the biggest buckets of the tournament.

With the game tied at 58, Schaefer called a timeout. He and his staff would have smiled ear to ear had you told them this was the look they were going to get.

It just didn’t fall. McCowan came away with a steal, though, and appeared to have set up the Bulldogs for a go-ahead score in transition.

Yep, that’s Marina Mabrey’s music.

There’s a lot to unpack from that moment. You’ve likely debated the call by now and seen stills of the steal from the side. Mabrey got back into the play and got her hand on the ball.

That kind of play should look familiar coming from Mabrey. She did nearly the same thing to Vivians to prevent a three-point attempt at the end of the first quarter.

She also did the same thing to Kia Nurse in the semifinal.

McCowan picked up her fifth foul as she prevented Young from throwing it ahead to Ogunbowale for one of the easiest game-winners in the history of basketball.

For a multitude of reasons, it was only right that Ogunbowale would be the one to take the final shot for Notre Dame, an impossible attempt from the right corner with Victoria Vivians right in her grill.

Best reaction to Ogunbowale’s second game-winner of the weekend? Her head coach, Muffet McGraw.

The trajectory of the shot, which only seems more improbable the more you watch it:

Ogunbowale went straight to the Notre Dame faithful, reminding them that she’s got ice in her veins.

One last angle of the shot, showing just how good the contest from Vivians was:

What a shot. What a display of shot making. What a weekend. What a season from a program that lost four key contributors, then had to make it through Villanova, Texas A&M, Oregon, UConn and Mississippi State.

Related Story: How Kristina Nelson helped slow Teaira McCowan

Don’t let the celebration of these great moments from Columbus end too soon, and don’t let other basketball fans miss the next great moment that leaves us all speechless.