Just when the stat sheet said Arike Ogunbowale missed nine of her 10 first-half shots and the Irish heading into the waning moments had not hit a three-pointer all night.
The shot - or perhaps, the shot, Part II - pushed Notre Dame past fellow No. 1 seed Mississippi State, 61-58, as the Fighting Irish earned their second NCAA championship 17 years to the day after winning the first.
After nailing a step-back jumper that took down CT on Friday and propelled Notre Dame into the title game, Ogunbowale caught the ball Sunday with three seconds remaining and the game tied, made her way to the elbow, and launched a contested 3-pointer as time expired. This left them with only seven healthy scholarship players who were forced to step up. "I'll wear that maybe for the rest of my career".
Give Notre Dame credit for making one more play than State. She became a national star this season, ranking in the top 20 in scoring with almost 21 points a game and earning first-team all-ACC and second-team all-American honors.
The Bulldogs found McCowan in the middle of the lane and she used a drop step to seal her defender and attempt a shot on the left side of the rim.
"We didn't get stops when we needed to get a stop", Blair Schaefer said. McCowan fouled Young with three seconds remaining. More alarming, the Irish scored only 3 points in the second quarter against Mississippi State's relentless defense, allowing the Bulldogs to pull ahead by double figures. By the end of the first quarter, Mississippi State had moved ahead by 17-14.
Notre Dame (36-3) started the game off strong.
There was a very high excitement level at this year's Final Four and National Championship games.
Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians and Coach Vic Schaefer react after Sunday's championship loss to Notre Dame. Arike Ogunbowale hit a three-pointer to beat the buzzer to deliver the second national title in school history, the first came in 2001.
I don't know how many of you might have spent any time watching the NCAA women's Final Four on the weekend - the Good Friday semifinals and Easter Sunday championship game didn't do them any scheduling favours - but it truly was a spectacle.
"You're up five with 1:40 (left), it's my job to get them home, and I didn't get them home", he said.
"I didn't like the way it looked", Young said.
"This team is relentlessly driven", said Jessica Shepard, who scored 19 points to lead the Irish. It lost to SC previous year after ending UConn's record 111-game winning streak.
Mississippi State still led by five on a Johnson 3-pointer with just under two minutes left. "They went inside. [Shepard] was 8-for-10, and we had a hard time dealing with her". You've got to give Notre Dame credit.
The play was created to get the ball to Jessica Shepard, who led Notre Dame with 19 points, but inbounder Jackie Young told Ogunbowale to be ready.