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Arizona Women’s Basketball Finish Historic Season Ranked No. 12

Adia Barnes brought Arizona’s “Culture” back to where it was when he graduated in 1998. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The Arizona women moved up one spot to No. 12 on the final NCAA AP Top 25 Poll released on Tuesday morning. The Wildcats finished a few points behind No. 11 Northwestern and both teams benefited from Gonzaga dropping from No. 11 to No. 13 after the Zags lost to unranked Portland 70-69 in the semifinal round of the West Coast Conference tournament last Monday.

The AP Top 10 remained the same with No. 1 South Carolina collecting 26 first-place votes followed by No. 2 Oregon with four. Stanford stayed at No. 7, UCLA at No. 10, Oregon State at No. 14 and ASU at No. 25. With six ranked teams, the Pac-12 led the nation.

With the national tournament cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this will be the second highest ranking in Arizona history behind the historic No. 9 ranking of 1998 when, then senior Adia Barnes, led the team to a Sweet 16 finish. Arizona last went to the NCAA tournament in 2005 and Barnes was set to lead her team to the playoffs as a coach this time with the strong possibility of hosting the first two rounds at McKale Center.

The NCAA granted another year to the seniors of 2020 but it is unknown if current seniors Amari Carter, Lucia Alonso, Tee Tee Starks and Dominique McBryde will return. Aari McDonald is a junior but the WNBA draft is slated for April 17.

Draftsite.com projects McDonald going in the 2nd Round (18) to the Phoenix Mercury. Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally are projected to be the first two picks. Oregon’s Ruthy Hebard is projected 5th. Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec (20) and USC’s Stephanie Watts (28) are the other Pac-12 standouts projected in the draft.

Aari McDonald (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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