By: Lamonte Thomas
Headline Photo Credit: NCAA
With the final four at stake, the Indiana Lady Hoosiers and Arizona Lady Wildcats came into this game on an emotional high. Indiana’s Ali Patberg came out firing, but not like Aarion Mcdonald for Arizona; who scored 10 of Arizona’s first 12 and was perfect from the field. (2-2 from 3-pt). Arizona led 14-11 after the first quarter, and Patberg found Mackenzie Holmes two possessions in a row (after a runner of her own) to give the Lady Hoosiers their first lead. That lead was met by yet another Aari Mac triple to tie the game at 17. Holmes was still heating up for Indiana, yet Arizona led 27-23 at the half behind McDonald’s 17 points. The Lady Wildcats trudged ahead in the third–behind buckets from Virginia Tech transfer Trinity Baptiste and Mcdonald’s fourth three. Holmes continued to dominate inside, tying the game in the last minute of the quarter before Mcdonald stole it away–Literally, under her own basket she took a rebound from Indiana and laid it in, giving Arizona a 46-44 lead down the stretch to the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats let it fly from three in the fourth, as Baptiste, Mcdonald (again), and Pueyo (twice) each converted on a triple; Grace Berger with Indiana would not go quietly, scoring on a variety of jumpshots. The lead was seven with one minute to play, and Indiana needed a stop bad. The full court press led to Berger knocking the ball loose, but in the battle for the ball it was knocked around to a wide-open Bendu Yeaney for the game-sealing layup. Mackenzie Holmes ended the game with 20 points for Indiana; Arizona reigned victorious 66-53 behind Aarion Mcdonald’s 33 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists; Trinity Baptiste pitched in 12 points and 10 rebounds. For the first time in school history, the Arizona Wildcats are in the final four!