TUCSON (KVOA) - The University of Arizona Women's Basketball team came up just short of winning the national championship on Sunday.
This tournament run catapulted this program into the national spotlight and while they may have lost the championship game, they won the heart of the Tucson community.
The team came into Arizona Stadium on Monday with thousands of fans ready to celebrate their incredible season.
A season in which they surpassed all expectations.
"It was insane, especially after we got to the Sweet 16 and we started making history for ourselves," said Sam Thomas, a captain on the women's basketball team. "It was just awesome and to have our fans and family there. It was incredible."
Many of these players came from a six win team back in 2018, now they made it one point shy of a national championship, an incredible feat in a short amount of time.
"I felt like I had to pinch myself the whole tournament and honestly. it still hasn't really settled in. Honestly, I don't feel now like we just played in the national championship game," said Adia Barnes, head coach of the UArizona Women's Basketball team. "I feel like it was a great run, but it all hasn't settled in."
After upsetting powerhouse UCONN in the Final Four, this underdog team captured the hearts of all those who have struggled through the challenges of this past year.
"The national spotlight was on this game and our team," said Dr. Robert Robbins, UArizona president. "And I think, as I said, the whole country, the whole world adopted our team against the quote "bluebloods" so I couldn't be prouder."
Resiliency, fight and passion - these are words Barnes used to describe this year's team. A group of young women that she says will always have a special place in her heart.
"When you're a coach that your team plays hard for, it's not me it's them," Barnes said. "That's all I can ask for. So win or lose, I'm proud."
This is not a team that is hanging on to that last second shot on Sunday. This year's run has them expecting to be in the championship race next March.