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Notre Dame’s Cinderella Run And The State Of Women’s Basketball

Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with 0.1 seconds left on the clock to lead Notre Dame to its first NCAA title in 17 years over Mississippi State 61-58 Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio.

The Shadow League on Twitter

Watch Notre Dame’s game-winner over and over again this morning. https://t.co/PzVEbMeAZ0

The shot came two days after Ogunbowale shocked seemingly invincible UConn in the Final Four with a last second jumper in overtime.

The Shadow League on Twitter

Note Dame shocks #UCONN! https://t.co/AKiiW8w89a

And a year after Mississippi State shocked the world in 2017 by knocking down an undefeated UConn team in the Final Four. 

Buzzer beater!!!!!!! Undefeated UConn stunned by Miss St.2017 women’s final four MUST SEE!!!!

Mississippi state stuns UConn buzzer beater in OT

While UConn is still the most elite program in the history of womens basketball, sporting two winning streaks of more than 100 games in the last half decade, Notre Dames victory only enhances the state of womens basketball. The dramatic fashion in which Notre Dame won games in this NCAA Tournament, made it a must watch sporting event and raised the profile of womens basketball. 

Its an example of how one play, one clutch shot, can right all the wrongs and change the narrative with a flick of the wrist. UConn and Geno Auriemmas dominance in womens college basketball has been frowned upon by opponents, some hoops heads and those looking to cast a negative cloud on the sport’s competitive fabric. 

UCONN ’95: BIRTH OF A DYNASTY

UCONN WOMENS BASKETBALL

The prevailing thought is that UConns invincibility is bad for the game, steals the spotlight from other deserving programs and shows a void in the game’s talent pool because UConn gets all of the top players. 

In reality, it is the dominance of UConns program for the past two decades that has helped elevate the interest in womens college basketball, with the way they conquered the longstanding records of John Woodens UCLA squads and produce Hall of Fame talent at a rapid rate. 

The Huskies womens basketball squad is a brand unto itself. Auriemma has built a dynasty at UConn that represents strength and power and people tend to gravitate to the Huskies as a sports program they respect and follow. 

News Conference: UConn & Notre Dame – Postgame

Uploaded by NCAA On Demand on 2018-03-31.

UConn has had two straight undefeated seasons foiled by last-second losses in the NCAA Tournament to underdog teams. Believe it or not, it has benefited the game as much as any UConn victory ever could at this point.  

The womens tournament was watched because most fans wanted to see UConn either complete another undefeated season and capture its 12th championship under Auriemma or, even better, lose in gut-wrenching fashion, which is what March Madness is all about.  

Connecticut stayed in the NCAA tournament long enough for casual fans to keep an eye on it, but they lost and in doing so elevated another program in Notre Dame to new heights which will improve recruiting, visibility and everything else within coach Muffet McGraw’s program. 

NCAA on Twitter

17 years to the day of their last women’s basketball national title, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are NCAA champs again! #WFinalFour

The best case scenario for any March Madness outcome is for Goliath to get slain by David. Thats happened the past two years in womens college basketball. UConn’s strife has brought new hope to programs across the country, enhanced the competitive optics of the sport while doing nothing to diminish the flagship program that drives the women’s college basketball machine. 

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