Arike Ogunbowale reflects on victory over UConn, looks ahead to Championship game against Baylor

Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points and led Notre Dame's rally from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter as the defending champion Irish beat UConn 81-76 Friday night to return to the title game.

Notre Dame's big win was in large part due to Arike Ogunbowale's 21 second half point performance.

Newscenter 16 Sports Director Alex Wilcox caught up with the Irish star after the big win.

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Q: ARIKE THE OBVIOUS QUESTION YOU GET THE BIG WIN, KNOCK OFF UCONN AGAIN JUST WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW AS YOU HEAD BACK TO A SECOND STRAIGHT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

A: YEAH WE HAVE A GREAT TEAM AHEAD OF US SO WE CAN CELEBRATE THIS RIGHT NOW JUST TOMROROW ONCE WE START PRACTICE ONCE WE START FILM WEVE GOT TO GET OUR MINDS RIGHT AND WE HAVE TO REALLY FOCUS ON THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE A GREAT TEAM.

Q: FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT GAME YOU WERE REALLY TESTED IN THIS ONE. TRAILING AT THE HALF REALLY A DOGFIGHT JUST WHAT WAS THE KEY TO PULLING THIS OUT IN THE END?

A: DEFENSE. I MEAN WE GOT DEFENSIVE STOPS, DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS AND BRIANNA GOT BLOCKS AND REBOUNDS AND WE KNOCKED DOWN OUR FREE THROWS DOWN TOO WHICH WAS BIG SO JUST PLAYING TEAM BASKETBALLL.

Q: YOU WERE HELD TO TWO POINTS IN THE SECOND HALF AND ONCE AGAIN COME ALIVE IN THE SECOND HALF JUST LIKE YOU DID AGAINST TEXAS A&M. WHAT WAS THE KEY FOR YOU TO GET SOME OF THOSE SHOTS TO FALL?

A: JUST GOT TO KEEP MY MIND IN IT I WAS MISSING SHOTS I USUALLY MAKE THAT'S WHY THERES TWO HALVES IN THE GAME SO CAME IN AT HALFTIME RECOUPERATED AND WENT OUT AND TRIED TO KNOCK MY SHOTS DOWN.

Q: I GOT TO ASK YOU ABOUT MARINA MABREY YOUR FRIEND. SHE STRUGGLED AT TIMES THROGHOUT THIS TOURNAMENT BUT SHE CAME ALIVE. JUST HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL FOR YOU TO SEE HER COME ALIVE AGAIN.

A: YEAH I'M SUPER HAPPY FOR HER. SHE'S AN AMAZING PLAYER AND EVEN THOUGH SHE'S STRUGGLING A LITTLE BIT. SHE SCORED WHEN IT MATTERED SO THAT'S BIG OF HER. THAT MAKES HER A BIG TIME PLAYER SO ON THE BIGGEST STAGE SHE CAN COME ALIVE SO I'M REALLY HAPPY FOR HER.

Q: YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU WOULD CELEBRATE THIS ONE TONIGHT AND THEN IT'S RIGHT BACK TO WORK FOR YOU GUYS WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE IS BAYLOT FOR YOU GUYS NUMBER ONE OVERALL SEED IN THE COUNTRY?

A: THEY'VE GOT GREAT POST PLAY. TWO POSTS THAT ARE ALL AMERICANS. THEY'VE GOT GUARD PLAY AND DEFENSE WELL SO IT'S GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE INSIDE BUT WE JUST HAVE TO TRY TO GET SOME STOPS AND SOME REBOUNDS.

Q: NOTRE DAME HAS A VERY ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY IN WOMENS COLLEGE BASKETBALL. SOMETHING THEY'VE NEVER DONE IS WIN BACK TO BACK CHAMPIONSHIPS….WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR YOU TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

A: I MEAN THAT'S JUST REALLY SPEICAL. WITH THIS GROUP JUST EVERYTHING THT WEVE BEEN THROUGH THESE PAST FEW YEARS AND MY WHOLE FOUR YEARS TO BE IN HISTORY TO TRY AND GO BACK TO BACK THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING AMAZING SO HOPEFULLY WE CAN DO IT.