In the biggest shot of her life, Arike Ogunbowale went straight 'Mamba Mentality' (as Kobe sat in the stands) knocking down a contested fade-away jumper in overtime to defeat the UConn Huskies 91-89 for a trip to the National Championship. Here are three reasons Notre Dame was able to pull off the upset.
Notre Dame Isn't Phased By UConn
In this historic rivalry, the Irish have been a part of this time and time again. The 'awe' of Connecticut, the first quarter shock that typically forces teams into a hole and desperately trying to claw back, doesn't phase Notre Dame.
They've been there, they've done that, they know Connecticut like the back of their hand. It truly was only a matter of time before the right Notre Dame team came along to pull off the upset. This is a team who has faced an immeasurable amount of adversity this season with injuries, reinventing themselves due to those injuries and proving their ability to bounce back.
This is one of the toughest teams we have ever seen Coach Muffet McGraw coach and also one of the most talented.
Missed Opportunities- Shots & Turnovers
UConn shoots the ball well, they lead the nation in offensive output. It was going to take a little bit of luck, combined with a tremendous defensive effort to force the Huskies to miss shots they normally make. Notre Dame's zone, in the first half particularly, had the Huskies slightly off balance.
They typically shoot the ball over 40-percent beyond the arc, in the first half they were held to 27 percent, which gave Notre Dame confidence and an ability to keep it close. Shots began to fall, but down the stretch, UConn had possessions in which they turned the ball over and resulted in Notre Dame's ability to capitalize on it.
A Career-Best Performance
The Irish needed a career night performance from someone. That someone? Jackie Young. A quiet leader on the team who tends to take a back seat to players like Ogunbowale, Mabrey and Shepard. Young proved to be exactly what the Irish needed finishing the game with 32 points on 10-15 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Shocked? Anyone who knows her, no. Jackie Young is the all-time leader in points (men and women) in the history of Indiana basketball. She has always been capable of a performance like this. In true Jackie Young fashion, she elevated her game to the highest level on the biggest stage imaginable.