Fairmont grad Westbeld caps Notre Dame career with national title

Fairmont H.S. grad and Notre Dame senior Kathryn Westbeld, shown here during the regular season, capped her Irish career by winning a national championship. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOTRE DAME

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Fairmont H.S. grad and Notre Dame senior Kathryn Westbeld, shown here during the regular season, capped her Irish career by winning a national championship. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOTRE DAME

Notre Dame and Fairmont High School graduate Kathryn Westbeld defeated Mississippi State 61-58 on a last-second shot to win the NCAA women's basketball national championship on Sunday night.

Trailing by 15 points in the second half at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Arike Ogunbowale’s 3-pointer with 0.1 left was the game winner. There was a do-over celebration after the teams were called back to the court when it was ruled MSU had time to in-bound the ball. They did that, time ran out before a shot was taken and Notre Dame fans rushed the court.

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Westbeld, a 6-2 senior from Fairmont, had six points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Irish in the nationally televised (ESPN) contest. She has been a four-season fixture in the Irish lineup and has surpassed 1,000 career points. She also was a key presence in Fairmont's run to the Division I state championship in 2013 .

Jessica Shepard had 19 points to lead Notre Dame and Ogunbowale 18.

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Ogunbowale’s deep jumper from the wing in the final seconds also was the difference in Notre Dame’s 91-89 defeat of previously unbeaten Connecticut on Friday final four semifinal.

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It was the second national championship for Notre Dame (35-3), which also won in 2001. The Irish were national runner-ups in 2011, ’12, ’14 and ’15, when Westbeld was a freshman.

Mississippi State (37-2) was led by Victoria Vivians’ 21 points.

The men’s national championship will be determined between Michigan (33-7) and Villanova (35-4) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas at 9:20 p.m. Monday (TBS).

On the Wolverines roster is senior graduate and Alter High School grad Jaaron Simmons. He played as a freshman at Houston, when spent two-record setting seasons at Ohio University. He joined Michigan this season as a graduate transfer.

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