The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated No. 4 seed Indiana 66-53 on Monday, March 29, in the Elite Eight round to win the Mercado Region and make its first Final Four appearance in program history.
Here are some key stats that stood out in Monday’s win.
Not to sound like a broken record, but Aari McDonald did it all again for Arizona. She poured in 33 points on 12-20 shooting and 5-6 from the three-point range. She also added 11 rebounds and four assists to fill up the rest of the stat sheet.
McDonald had everyone holding their breath after she left in the fourth quarter with what looked like a bad ankle injury, but she came back to finish the game for the Wildcats.
All year, McDonald has put the Wildcats on her back, and this game and overall run have been no different.
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Arizona’s defense showed up and held Indiana to zero three-pointers made all game, with Indiana finishing 0-9. Arizona has prided itself on team defense and this game was just further proof of that. The Wildcats held Indiana to 36% shooting from the field and also added in six blocks. They also forced Indiana into nine total turnovers with four of those being steals.
This win also marked Arizona becoming 13-0 when they have held an opponent to under 55 points. Arizona has been a great defensive team all season, and it has been a huge reason why they have made it this far. The key has been the defensive mindset that head coach Adia Barnes has instilled in the team.
Tonight, Arizona made history. It was the first time in program history that they earned a trip to the Final Four. This is a program-defining win for Arizona and is emblematic of the unbelievable job that Barnes has done with this program. The program was in dire straits before Barnes came in and in her first two seasons, she only won 20 combined games.
The program also only won six games in one of those years. In year three, Barnes led the team to the WNIT title, and hopes were high after that. Last year was canceled due to the pandemic, so their hopes were dashed too soon.
This season’s team was on a mission with a handful of players that could have left early deciding to return. One of those players was McDonald. This was an amazing moment and now we get to see just how much longer this run can go.
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