Sports Spectrum Weekly

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw thanks Jesus on Easter after winning National Championship

On Easter Sunday, Notre Dame’s women came through when it was needed the most and beat Mississippi State on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Arike Ogunbowale with 0.1 seconds left, giving the Fighting Irish a thrilling 61-58 comeback victory over Mississippi State in the NCAA championship game on Sunday night.

Ogunbowale was the hero for the second straight game. On Friday Night, she hit a shot with a second left in overtime to give the Irish a 91-89 win over previously unbeaten Connecticut.

Head Coach Muffet McGraw knew her team had to scratch and claw and was thankful to come away with her second championship with Notre Dame. “We just kept fighting. Thank you Jesus on Easter Sunday.”

Notre Dame’s championship came 17 years to the day after it won its only other championship back in 2001, also on Easter.

“It’s Easter Sunday, and all the Catholics were praying for us,” coach Muffet McGraw said after the game.

Despite being a No. 1 seed, not many critics thought this Notre Dame team was capable of winning a championship with four players lost to ACL injuries over the course of the season. But playing with just seven healthy scholarship players, the Irish rallied from second-half deficits in their last four NCAA games to become champions.

Arike Ogunbowale got praise from many of the top athletes around the world after hitting her second straight game-winning shot in the Final Four. People like Kobe Bryant, J.J. Watt, Justin Verlander and DeMar DeRozan all tweeted about her shot. Most telling for Arike was on her Twitter bio, where she lists Jeremiah 29:11 as a verse she clings to. 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” — Jeremiah 29:11 

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