The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated No. 1 seed UConn 69-59 on Friday, April 2, in the Final Four round to advance to the 2021 national championship game.
Here are some key stats that stood out in Friday's historic win.
Arizona outmuscled and hustled the bigger UConn Huskies on the inside, and scored 48 points in the paint. UConn only got 31 points inside. UConn was suffocated by the Arizona defense, and the few shots that they got to go in were not easy at all. Everyone on Arizona was able to get points in the paint because they went right at UConn. This seemed to take UConn by surprise, and their frontcourt got into foul trouble all game. Most notably, Christyn Williams fouled out in the fourth quarter. Arizona just was more aggressive than UConn, and it showed in this aspect of the game.
Arizona pounced on Paige Bueckers, the National Player of the Year, early and didn’t let up. She finished with 18 points but worked incredibly hard for each one. She finished shooting 5-13 from the field, and just seemed bothered by Arizona’s stifling defense the whole game. Arizona seemed to take the challenge head-on playing against her, and she had no answers. Aari McDonald was mainly assigned to her, and also seemed to send a message that the best player in the game was not Bueckers, but herself. This game was about sending a message for Arizona, and they did just that, especially to their best player.
McDonald absolutely controlled the game, and lead everyone with 26 points. She also had seven rebounds total. This was just another tournament moment for McDonald on this magical run and was probably her best so far. She went 4-9 from three-point range and finished 7-17 from the field. This was McDonald’s announcement to many people on the national stage as well, and she absolutely owned it. Everyone came into the game talking about Paige Bueckers, and now they will be talking about Aari McDonald because of how she dominated the game in every fashion. This was a message game for McDonald and the Wildcats. For everyone that doubted them, the message should be received.
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