Nobody is having a greater week than Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale.

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After hitting back-to-back buzzer beaters in the Final Four to beat UConn and then Mississippi State for the national title, the junior became an overnight celebrity. She captured the nation’s attention, including her self-proclaimed idol Kobe Bryant.

Ogunbowale was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week and traveled to Los Angeles to tape an appearance on the Ellen Show airing Friday at 3 p.m., where Ellen DeGeneres surprised the Irish standout with a chance to meet Bryant. He came bearing gifts, sending Ogunbowale home with autographed jerseys — one for herself and the other for her dog, who she named after the Los Angeles Lakers legend. 

MORE: Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale puts her unforgettable stamp on a thrilling season

Rapper and actor Ice Cube joined the trio on the show for a friendly game of 2-on-2 basketball.

The five-time NBA champion got to witness Ogunbowale’s first game-winner in person, in Columbus, Ohio, where Bryant was ironically cheering on the UConn Huskies. Although Kobe’s team of choice didn’t seal the win, he took to Twitter to congratulate the Notre Dame guard and offer some words of encouragement ahead of the Irish’s second-ever title win. 

The kind words boosted Ogunbowale’s confidence to knock down the shot to give Notre Dame its second national championship 17 years to the day of its first in 2001. 

Ogunbowale is sure to go down in Notre Dame history and this week will be one for her own record books, too. 

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.

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