It’s that time of the year again, basketball season is here!
On Nov. 9, 2021, the Arizona women’s basketball team took on the California State University, Northridge, Matadors in McKale Center to kick off the 2021 season. Coming off an amazing season and championship run last year, we’ll look at how this dominant Arizona basketball team will fare going into the 2021 season.
Coming in ranked at No. 22 in the polls, the Arizona women’s basketball team has high expectations for this upcoming season. After losing a close game to Stanford in the championship last year, Arizona is hoping to come into this season with some vengeance. A big loss for this team is star player, Aari McDonald. McDonald was the leading scorer for the Arizona team last year and was a huge role player in the tournament.
Arizona’s head coach, Adia Barnes, is left with the tough task of taking her team back to the championship. Without McDonald, the team is led by senior forward Sam Thomas and senior forward Cate Reese. Thomas was a big part of Arizona's success last year and won the award of Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and made the All-Pac-12 team. Both Thomas and Reese were voted to be on the preseason All-Pac-12 team and are both projected to have a big year. The two players will bring a lot of experience to the team and should be able to run the offense effectively.
With McDonald off the team, new people are going to have to step up at the guard position. One of those players is the junior transfer from Oregon, Taylor Chavez. Chavez is a two-way guard who specializes from the 3-point line. During her time in Oregon, she shot 44% from 3 and was a huge role player on the offensive side.
Arizona is ranked No. 15 in the coach’s poll due to Barnes, who helped Arizona win their Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four games by double-figures. She was also the youngest coach since 2014 to reach the Final Four, where they knocked off the No. 1 ranked University of Connecticut.
Arizona is going into this year very experienced and has one goal in mind: win the championship. However, Arizona does face a tough task and will need to beat some of the best teams in the NCAA to accomplish their goal.
Although Arizona’s preseason ranking is at No. 5 in the Pac-12, many people think that they can shock the country and be a powerhouse once again in this upcoming season.