Ryan Schreiber (Flickr)
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament has moved into the Final Four.
Three quarters of the remaining teams are the highest seeds in their group, with the University of Arizona the only school left without the No. 1 in front of their name.
However, even though Arizona is a third seed, it doesn’t mean they lack superstar talent like their top-rated competitors.
With Aari McDonald, a two time PAC 12 defensive player-of-the-year and current PAC 12 player of the year, Arizona is looking dominant going into their game against the University of Connecticut on Friday.
“I was taking bad shots, but I’m letting the game come to me and my teammates are putting me into successful positions. The coaches are putting me in successful positions as well. I’m really just taking what the defense gives me,” McDonald said.
McDonald’s patience and responsibility has allowed the team to center itself around their fourth-year senior throughout the tournament, relying on her in most key situations.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona will have to face Uconn’s 2021 AP first team All-American Paige Bueckers.
While not as impressive as McDonald’s 33 point performance against Indiana, Bueckers did account for 28 points versus Baylor. It turned out to be enough to put them in the Final Four, with a little help from her teammate Christyn Williams, who scored 21.
“She makes really hard passes look really easy, and she makes really easy passes look easy. That alone sets her apart from every other player in the college,” said former UConn Huskie and current Phoenix Mercury player Diana Turasi about Bueckers.
The Wildcats will not only have to contend with Bueckers in their Friday matchup with Connecticut, but also all of her teammates, as she can craftily give them open looks at seemingly any point.
Beuckers may only be a Freshman at Uconn, but she has the confidence of a much more experienced player and has led the team to a 20-1 record this season.
McDonald and Arizona might not be able to completely stop Beuckers. But, if they can somehow contain her, it would give the Wildcats a chance to move on by outscoring the rest of her teammates.
Coverage of the Women’s Final Four begins Friday at 6 p.m. (ET) on ESPN, with Stanford going against South Carolina. UConn will face Arizona in the second game, starting at 9:30 p.m. (ET), which the Championship game on Sunday.