Baylor overcomes Notre Dame comeback to win national title

There was no other player the Notre Dame women’s basketball team would have wanted at the foul line with its championship hopes at stake.

Arike Ogunbowale has been women’s basketball’s queen of clutch for two years now, a label she has earned with historic shot after historic shot on the sport’s biggest stage.

Having drawn a foul to give herself a chance to tie Sunday’s national title game at the foul line with less than two seconds to go, Ogunbowale had a chance to be the hero once again. This time she couldn’t come through as her missed free throw proved to be the difference in a thrilling 82-81 Baylor victory.

Chloe Jackson scored a tie-breaking driving layup with 3.9 seconds to go, lifting Baylor into the lead. The Bears’ victory clinched their third national title, an achievement only surpassed by UConn and Tennessee.

For more than 28 minutes, Baylor appeared to be in complete control.Then an ill-timed injury to maybe the Bears’ most important player altered the course of history.

Lauren Cox had to leave the floor in a wheelchair late in the third quarter after she planted awkwardly and her right knee buckled. Baylor’s 12-point lead had vanished by the time she limped back to the bench with a brace on her knee.

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Baylor University coach Kim Mulkey
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Baylor University coach Kim Mulkey
WACO, TX - FEBRUARY 18: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey looks on during the women's basketball game between Baylor and Oklahoma State on February 18, 2017, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - JANUARY 25: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor Bears instructs her team against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on January 25, 2017 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - JANUARY 25: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor Bears instructs her team against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on January 25, 2017 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 04: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey talks to Baylor Bears forward Dekeiya Cohen (1) during a game between the Baylor Lady Bears and Tennessee Lady Volunteers on December 4, 2016, at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Baylor defeated the Lady Vols 88-66. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 04: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey giving her team instructions during a game between the Baylor Lady Bears and Tennessee Lady Volunteers on December 4, 2016, at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Baylor defeated the Lady Vols 88-66. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
STORRS, CONNECTICUT- NOVEMBER 17: Baylor Head coach Kim Mulkey on the sideline during her sides loss during the UConn Huskies Vs Baylor Bears NCAA Women's Basketball game at Gampel Pavilion, on November 17th, 2016 in Storrs, Connecticut. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
09 MAR 2015: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey during the NCAA Big 12 Women's basketball championship game between the Baylor Bears and the Texas Longhorns at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Baylor defeats Texas 75-64. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
STORRS, CONNECTICUT- NOVEMBER 17: Baylor Head coach Kim Mulkey reacts on the sideline during her sides loss during the UConn Huskies Vs Baylor Bears NCAA Women's Basketball game at Gampel Pavilion, on November 17th, 2016 in Storrs, Connecticut. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
07 MAR 2015: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey during the NCAA Big 12 Women's basketball tournament game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
07 MAR 2015: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey during the NCAA Big 12 Women's basketball tournament game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - JANUARY 06: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor Bears reacts after a play against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on January 6, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
WACO, TX - DECEMBER 18: Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey looks on against the Mississippi Lady Rebels on December 18, 2013 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey gives referee Maj Forsberg a piece of her mind during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, Monday, February 18, 2013. Baylor defeated UConn, 76-70. (John Woike/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images)
WACO, TX - DECEMBER 12: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor University Bears yells at her team as they play against the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles on December 12, 2012 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey talks to the press during the women's Big 12 basketball media day at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, October 25, 2012. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor University Bears looks on against the University of Kentucky Wildcats on November 13, 2012 at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 03: Odyssey Sims #0 of the Baylor Bears celebrates with head coach Kim Mulkey after they won 80-61 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey and Baylor Bears guard Kimetria Hayden during the second half of play against the Stanford Cardinals in Women's 2012 Final Four action at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO Sunday April 1, 2012. AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 03: Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor Bears reacts as she coaches in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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