After defeating No. 4 seed Indiana 66-53 in the Elite Eight, Arizona moves on to the program’s first Final Four in school history.
Awaiting the Wildcats is No. 1 seed Connecticut, which is entering its 21st Final Four and has been in this position a record 13 straight seasons.
Going into Friday’s game, the Wildcats are a 13.5-point underdog according to ESPN against a UConn team with a record of 28-1.
Arizona will have to deal with UConn’s sensational freshman guard Paige Bueckers who is averaging 20.1 points. Most recently, Bueckers dropped 28 points on No. 2 seed Baylor in a 69-67 nail bitter.
The Wildcats are a team known for its swarming defense and will need to develop a game plan to lock down Bueckers that not many teams have been able to do this season.
Sam Thomas vs Paige Bueckers . I believe Sam has defensive I.Q , size and speed to slow her down. Deny her open 3 pt attempts. Arizona will double her on ball screens. She can pass it but she beats you with her scoring. 🐻⬇️
— Kelvin Eafon (@krocdesertstorm) March 31, 2021
Although Bueckers is a phenomenal player, Arizona has a star guard in Aari McDonald, who has shined in the national spotlight showing the country that she should be on the list of the NCAA’s best players.
During the tournament, McDonald had averaged 25.3 points a game and shot 55 percent from the field and 53 percent from the 3-point line. In her last two games, she has scored 64 points while shooting 59 percent from the field.
Here’s coach Adia Barnes and her team talking about the upcoming game and discussing what it means to be in this moment:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.