SAN ANTONIO, TX (KVOA) - The Arizona Wildcat players were expectedly emotional after the heartbreaking, 54-53 loss to Stanford in the NCAA women's basketball championship game.
Arizona's Aari McDonald missed a last-second shot at the buzzer that would have won the game for Arizona.
"I mean, it was about 6.1 seconds left maybe. I got denied hard. I tried to turn the corner, they sent three at me. I took a tough, contested shot. Didn't fall, So...That's what I remember," said Aari McDonald as she held back tears. "What I learned about myself and my teammates is that you know, we had thick skin, we have mental toughness."
It showed throughout this tournament. Before we got in from the start, Coach Barnes said the two teams that play for the championship, are the teams that are mentally tough. "I think we showed that." U of A women's basketball coach Adia Barnes said, "This team is so special. I am so proud. We fought."
"We weren't the best team in the tournament. No one thought we'd be here. We believed in each other. We didn't play a great game, but we battled. We played our hearts out. We came within one possession."
Barnes added, "It doesn't come down to the last possession, it comes down to all the little things. The margin of error is so slim in a championship game. This is unchartered territory for the Wildcats. Our program hadn't been to the tournament in 15 years, 16 years. We've never played in the championship game."
McDonald said, "I think that we showed we had a lot of growth over these last couple years. Coach Barnes bringing in the players that are willing to work, that are competitive. That helped our culture change tremendously. I mean, I'm just really proud of these ladies. I'm very thankful for them and the coaches."