No. 3 seed Arizona came out on top after a tightly fought game, beating No. 11 seed Brigham Young University, 52-46. Neither team ever led by more than 6 as the two grappled. It was the Wildcats who earned their program’s second Sweet 16 berth, and their first since head coach Adia Barnes was Arizona’s star player in 1998.
“All or nothing, just do it or die,” Arizona senior Aari McDonald said in a television interview after the game. She finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. “I definitely didn’t want to go home, so I had to just suck it up and leave it all on the court.”
McDonald hit her first 3-point shot in the middle of the fourth quarter. Brigham Young followed with a shot clock violation and then the Wildcats took back the lead.
“We know that defense starts our offense, and I’m the catalyst,” McDonald said. “Second half, I took pride in my defense and we got the job done.”
Trinity Baptiste fouled out in the final minute after racking up 11 rebounds and after making a potentially game-saving play by tipping one of McDonald’s misses back out to the normally sharpshooting guard. McDonald was then able to make a driving layup that effectively sealed the game.
After the Wildcats shot some free throws, the Cougars had one last chance — a chance that McDonald generated with a steal with nine seconds left before hitting one more layup on her way to her first Sweet 16.