Aari McDonald came up just short on her final heave from behind the arc, which would’ve won a National Championship for Arizona.
This isn’t to take anything away from the Wildcats, whose run to the Final Four and beyond — including a win over the UConn Huskies and Paige Bueckers — won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Yet, two evenly-matched teams met in the National Championship, with Stanford just barely squeaking out a one-point victory with some tremendous defense at the end of the game.
McDonald chose to take the defense on by herself, so Stanford sent three defenders towards her in the waning seconds. Arizona had gotten to this point with McDonald leading the way. The game was rightfully on her shoulders, and the prayer was very nearly answered.
THIS ENDING WAS WILD.
Instant classic. pic.twitter.com/aqMq0Mp22v
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 5, 2021
Aari McDonald came so close to changing the course of women’s basketball history
McDonald was visibly shaken after the game, and that’s not necessarily surprising given the gravity of the moment. Adia Barnes and her team are never shy about wearing their emotions, and after such an impressive run to a title game against a familiar opponent, falling just short is excruciating.
Despite the final missed jumper, McDonald finished the game with 22 points. Stanford made her work for those buckets, however, as she made just 5-of-20 shot attempts, making 8-of-12 from the line as well.
Credit Tara VanDerveer and the Cardinal for a tremendous defensive gameplan. They’ve earned the right to cut down the nets.
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