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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Arike Ogunbowale takes home ESPY Award for Best Play

After winning the 2018 national championship, the women’s basketball team added more silverware to their record season on Wednesday night, as Arike Ogunbowale won the 2018 ESPY for Best Play.

The then-junior guard's game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against No. 1-seeded Mississippi State for the national title game was chosen by the fans who voted over three other finalists: the Philadelphia Eagles’ fourth-down touchdown pass  — dubbed “The Philly Special” — in the Super Bowl; a double play made by Florida State softball’s third baseman Jessie Warren; and an 80-foot buzzer-beating shot by Evanston men's basketball sophomore Blake Peters in a regular-season game against Maine South.

Zachary Yim | The Observer
Irish senior guard Arike Ogunbowale goes up for a layup during Notre Dame's 61-58 win over Mississippi State in the national title game on April 1 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

After trailing by as much as 15 in the third quarter, Notre Dame rallied against Mississippi State and entered the final seconds with the ball and the game tied at 58. It was Ogunbowale who proved to be the difference-maker, as she hit a corner 3-pointer as time expired to win head coach Muffet McGraw her 800th game and bring home Notre Dame's second title in dramatic fashion, just two days after hitting a game-winning jumper in overtime of the national semifinal against top-overall seed Connecticut to send the Irish to the championship.

The play was also up for the ESPY for Best Moment, but lost to Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stephon Diggs’ 61-yard touchdown, nicknamed “The Minneapolis Miracle.”

The Irish as a team were also up for Best Team, but Notre Dame lost in the category to the Houston Astros. The nomination came after a season in which the Irish (35-3, 15-1 ACC) overcame all odds — losing four players throughout the year to ACL injuries — to capture the program's second-ever title. The Irish entered the NCAA tournament with no scholarship guards able to come off the bench and only 10 active players — after adding three walk-ons during the season. In the face of adversity, Notre Dame rallied to achieve a No. 1 seed and reached the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio.