SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Aari McDonald scored 26 points and lead a smothering defensive effort for Arizona as the Wildcats beat UConn 69-59 Friday night to advance to the women’s NCAA Tournament championship game for the first time in school history.
The Wildcats never trailed against the favored and fabled Huskies, who have made the Final Four 13 consecutive times, but haven’t made the championship game since 2016 when UConn won its 11th title.
Arizona held UConn to a season low in points, but still had to hold on late after leading by 14 late in the third quarter as the Huskies made a late push. At the final buzzer, McDonald threw the ball high in the air and was mobbed by her teammates near center court. She shared a long hug with coach Adia Barnes, who starred as a player at the school in the late 1990s.
Haley Jones came up with a big shot, and Stanford got a little bit of luck to get back to the national championship game for the first time in 11 years.
Jones scored 24 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 32 seconds left, to help Stanford beat South Carolina 66-65 on Friday night and advance to the women’s NCAA Tournament championship game.
The title game will be played on Sunday.