(US college basketball) Arizona defy expectations

Sports | 31 Mar 2021 12:19 pm

Arizona has been having fun and playing good basketball, all the way to its first women’s NCAA Final Four. The Wildcats will now play the team that has been there more than any other, AP reports.

The Wildcats (20-5), in their fifth season with Adia Barnes coaching her alma mater, play their first national semifinal game Friday night against UConn (28-1). The 11-time national champions are making their 13th consecutive Final Four appearance and 21st overall for coach Geno Auriemma.

South Carolina (26-4), the 2017 national champion, plays No. 1 overall seed Stanford (29-2) in the first game Friday night in the Alamodome, where UConn beat the Cardinal for the 2010 title the only other team the Final Four was played in San Antonio.

The Cardinal’s first Final Four since 2017 is their 14th overall, trailing only to UConn and Tennessee’s 18.

There will be a matchup of standout guards with UConn freshman phenom and first-team All-American Paige Bueckers (22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds a game) and Arizona second-team All-American Aari McDonald (25.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who is coming off consecutive 30-point games.

Barnes will also be part of another first, along with South Carolina coach Dawn Staley. It will be the first Final Four with two teams coached by Black women.


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