Baylor women’s basketball survived a late surge from defending champions Notre Dame 82-81 to capture the third national championship in program history.
Graduate transfer guard Chloe Jackson hit a spectacular layup with just 3.9 seconds remaining to put the Lady Bears ahead for good. Notre Dame star Arike Ogunbowale was fouled with under two seconds remaining, but missed a free throw that would have tied the game.
The complexion of the game changed dramatically with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. All-American forward Lauren Cox went down with an apparent major knee injury. She did not return to the game. In an instant, Baylor’s 12-point lead evaporated as Notre Dame tied the game.
However, Jackson starred with 26 points, five assists and two steals in the final game. All-American post Kalani Brown added 20 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Lady Bears. The Lady Bears held the defending champions to just 38.9 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from inside the arc.
The third championship puts Mulkey and the Lady Bears in rarified air. Mulkey is just the third coach in college women’s basketball history to win three national championships, joining Geno Auriemma and Pat Summit. Baylor is also just the third program to win three championships.