She missed the first that would have tied it up, and then while trying to go for the miss on the second one, she put it in. And she did, just like we knew she would. "At that point, everything was for Lauren... You're going to see those guys play at the next level", Mulkey said.
It wasn't without the last bit of drama after Jackson's 12-footer went down - a familiar play, one the Bears ran late against OR as well.
Cox was taken off the court in a wheelchair during the third quarter of the title game Sunday night but returned to the bench and provided an emotional lift during the final minutes of the Lady Bears' 82-81 victory over Notre Dame.
"It feels incredible", Smith said.
The Lady Bears (37-1) won their first championship in seven years. "To do it my freshman year is just wonderful". She tried to miss the second on goal, hoping for an offensive rebound, but made it. Arike's free throw with 3:18 left gave their Irish their first lead since the first two minutes of the game. Mulkey wore a blue suit for that 2005 title game, too, and of course, Roberts remembered that when she saw this year's suit and purchased it.
Moments later, Cox - with a little assistance - was the first Baylor player to cut off a piece of netting from beneath the rim.
Baylor's two departing players, one who got to Baylor as a highly touted freshman and the other a graduate transfer who wanted to win a title, led the Lady Bears into their home arena for an on-campus celebration Monday.
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"We've played in big games", Cox said. And she will be back, I promise you that. Coaches can try every year to have great team chemistry, they can lead them, guide them, " Mulkey said. Then she wanted to miss the second but didn't. As she walked purposefully across the floor, her audible "You've got to be f*****g kidding me" in an otherwise silent Amelie Arena reflected bad memories of losing her point guard, Kristy Wallace, in similar fashion last season. She can move up to fourth with two against Baylor, moving her past Rebecca Lobo, Courtney Parris and Brittney Griner.
Baylor last made a Final four appearance in the 2012 title season.
Still, on Sunday, in the biggest game of her career, she was ready for the call. "You know when you play Notre Dame, Shepard and Turner are capable of doing that". "And I just know she's hurt because that kid would have gotten up. I had to go in there and give everything I had". The 6-foot-4 forward fell to the floor clutching her knee under the Notre Dame basket after getting tangled up with teammate Kalani Brown.
"I'm one of the leaders of this team, so (I came back) just to have my voice there, to tell them that I'm still OK", Cox said to ESPN.
Baylor led by 17 in the second quarter but Notre Dame battled back and tied it in the fourth. They continued to dominate in the paint to build a 43-31 advantage at the half, but Notre Dame is known for being a second half team - and won last year's tournament after a second-half surge. "I just know when you lose a big-time player in the middle of a national championship, you're not supposed to win".
"There was no doubt".