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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB lands UNLV in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and will host the first and second rounds in Tucson

Nathanial Stenchever

Madison Conner, a guard on the Arizona women’s basketball team, draws a foul on Sunday, Feb. 13 in McKale Center. The Wildcats would go on to win the game 62-58.

On Selection Sunday, it was announced that the Arizona women’s basketball team is a four seed and will play against 13 seed University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday, March 19 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Tucson. 

It is the second time in school history that Arizona has hosted the NCAA Tournament, the first happening when head coach Adia Barnes was playing for Arizona. 

Arizona enters the tournament as the No. 19 team overall in the country.

“It means so much because remember the first year, we didn’t play because of [COVID-19]. That would have been a year we could have probably a two or three seed, and then [COVID-19] happens. So that took Dominique [Mcbryde] and Lucia [Alonso], and Tee Tee [Starks], everybody who kind of helped build this program, they didn’t get to go to the tournament” Barnes said.

Arizona went 6-24 in the 2017-2018 season and grew with those players, amassing 24 wins before the Wildcats graduated and the reached the National Championship in the 2020-2021 season. 

 “And then after that, fast forward, then [COVID-19’s] still happening, [which] no one would ever have thought. And then we’re locked down on the bubble so then we couldn’t host again. So to host this week is amazing.” 

UNLV head coach Lindy La Rocque has Pac-12 experience, playing at Stanford and being an assistant coach with Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer from 2017-2020

Stanford won it’s 15th Pac-12 tournament this year and has won three National Championships since starting coaching in 1985. 

RELATED: Pac-12 Women’s Championship game recap

“I think she’s doing a tremendous job at UNLV. She just has really turned things around. And she’s up and coming great young coach and so I love that. I love seeing females and former players successful” Barnes said. 

Barnes expects to see similar defense in the first round matchup against UNLV

UNLV made the tournament for the first time in 20 years after defeating Colorado State in the Mountain West tournament championship 75-65.

“I think I would anticipate defensively very similar, but just very different teams. So I think that it’s going to be a good game. I’m sure just like everybody, you share information with friends, and I think that nowadays, you can just go to synergy and you can watch everything you need. So whether you get a scout from someone or you don’t it like, it’s so irrelevant nowadays,” Barnes said.

Sam Thomas gets to face her sister, freshman Jade Thomas from UNLV in the first round.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my family all together of course, and finally putting to use their UNLV half Arizona shirts that we got them for Christmas,” Thomas said. 

Arizona went 20-7 in regular season play and 10-6 in conference play and lost three out of four games with Cate Reese sidelined with a dislocated shoulder but Reese is fully healthy and ready to play in the tournament. 

Arizona will play UNLV on Saturday, March 19 with the time still yet to be determined. 

Follow Asher Bookspan on Twitter

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