Baylor Wins 2019 NCAA Women’s Championship

Baylor Wins 2019 NCAA Women's Championship

James Morrissey

This year the women’s NCAA championship was exciting, to say the least.  The Baylor Lady Bears are national champions for the third time after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 82-81 on Sunday. Baylor, the top seed overall, went into the tournament having lost only one game to Stanford, in December. The Lady Bears showed why they were the best, beating opponents by an average margin of 38.2 points.

In the semifinals, Baylor survived a potential upset against Oregon by staying with what they know and focusing on limiting Organs shooters and dominating inside. Defense was Baylor’s superpower all season. The Lady Bears allowed the 10th-fewest points per game (55.0) and ranked first in opponent field-goal percentage (31.6 percent). Notre Dame was another victim of that suffocating defense, shooting 38.9 percent as a team.

Chloe Jackson was the savior in the tournament title nail biter. She gave Baylor an 82-80 lead with 3.9 seconds left in the game. The Lady Bears got off to a hot start, shooting 67 percent from the field in the first quarter. Baylor focused on stopping the Irish from getting into their killer transition game. Notre Dame struggled to recover but kept it relatively close at the half, trailing by 43-31.

With 1.9 seconds left, Moon Ursin fouled Arike Ogunbowale giving her a chance to tie the game and force overtime. Ogunbowale was the hero of last year’s Final Four, hitting game-winners in both the national semifinals and the national championship. Ogunbowale missed the first and sank the second. There was too little time was left on the clock for the Fighting Irish to foul Baylor and hope for a desperation shot attempt at the buzzer.

This is the second time Baylor beat Notre Dame in the final, with the Lady Bears also getting the better of the Fighting Irish in 2012.