The Arizona women’s basketball team lost to Stanford in heart-aching fashion as Aari McDonald missed the game-winning basket as time expired and the game ended, 54-53, in the NCAA national championship on Sunday, April 4.
“This team is so special. I am so proud. We fought," head coach Adia Barnes said. "We weren't the best team in the tournament, no one thought we would be here. We believed in each other. We did not play a great game, but we battled. We played our hearts out and we came within one possession.”
Arizona was led by McDonald, who scored 22 points in her last game in an Arizona uniform and the only other player who scored in double-figures was Shaina Pellington who scored 15 points.
This game was all about runs. It started with Stanford taking off on a 12-0 run and taking an early lead of 14-3 in the first quarter. Arizona would answer and inch closer and then Stanford would make another huge run to keep them from taking the lead.
Arizona did not shoot the ball well from the field as they shot 29% (17-59) from the field and 27% (6-22) from beyond the arc. The reason Arizona stayed in this game was their constant pressure. The Wildcats forced 21 turnovers which led to 12 points off of turnovers.
“It started with [Pellington] and [Bendu Yeaney]. They came up big for us in the second half," McDonald said. "Pressuring the ball, getting key steals, probably their best defensive efforts all season. I’m really proud of them. [Pellington] gave us a lot of energy today. It's probably one of her best games. she had us afloat in the second half.”
Arizona was undersized in this game and lost the rebound battle 47-29 and gave up 36 points in the paint to Stanford.
The Wildcats season comes to an end after this game and they will look to bounce back next year and get another shot to go deep into March.
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