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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The best women’s athletes in Arizona history

    Jennie Finch

    The conversation for best women’s athlete in Arizona history usually starts with Finch. 

    While at Arizona, Finch set numerous pitching records and became the face of Arizona softball as many people now know it. She played for the Wildcats from 1999-2002 and helped lead the Wildcats to a College World Series appearance in each one of her four years, and she helped win it during her junior year. 

    Her numerous accolades include: most consecutive wins at 60, a three-time All-American, MVP of the College World Series in 2001, and when she left Arizona, she was the career leader in strikeouts, shutouts, innings pitched and was tied for the lead in no-hitters at No. 8. 

    She was in the top 10 for home runs, RBIs and walks when she left, and she even ranked No. 6 and No.7 all-time for a career-winning percentage in the Pac-12 and the NCAA.

    Aari McDonald

    What McDonald accomplished at Arizona was amazing. She was at Arizona for three years after initially going to the University of Washington but ended up transferring to Arizona, following Adia Barnes. She burst onto the scene in 2018 and helped get Arizona off to a hot start before it won Women’s National Invitational Tournament and set the stage for years to come. The next year the stage was set to make an NCAA Tournament run, but COVID-19 cut the year short. McDonald returned for her senior year and helped lead the team on a magical run in the NCAA Tournament. The team made a Final Four for the first time and then got to the National Championship game as well, and McDonald put the team on her back against Indiana University Bloomington and University of Connecticut, before ultimately falling just short to Stanford after she missed the final shot. In three years, she was a three-time All-American, three-time All-Pac-12 and three-time All-Pac-12 Defense. She was also a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was also the overall Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2021.

    Annika Sorenstam

    Sorenstam’s career at Arizona is one for the record books, even if it was briefer than some other athletes. The Swedish golfer moved to the U.S. to play at the University of Arizona. She won the individual NCAA Div. I Championship as a freshman in 1991. She was the first freshman and first non-American to do it, and she finished as the NCAA Co-Player of the Year, also the first Wildcat to earn the honor. She won the then Pac-10 Title during her sophomore year also. She finished both her freshman and sophomore years as an All-American. During her two years at Arizona, she won seven individual titles and helped Arizona win 14 titles as a team. She was only in Arizona for two years, but those two years can be only be described as complete dominance.

    Adia Barnes: 

    There’s so much to be said about Barnes both as a player and now coach. Her coaching career speaks for itself. 

    She turned around a program that was known for being in the basement of the Pac-12, she led the team to a WNIT Championship in her third year and then COVID-19 shut down the promise of the team she had her fourth year. In her fifth year, the team broke out and went on a magical run through the tournament to the championship before losing. 

    In her playing days, she was widely regarded as the best women’s basketball player to ever play at Arizona at the time. She was the first Arizona player to win the then Pac-10 Freshman Player of the Year, and then in her sophomore year she helped lead the Wildcats to a WNIT Championship title, and she was named the WNIT Tournament Most Valuable Player. 

    She also helped lead the Wildcats to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in her junior year. They won their first game but lost to higher-seeded Georgia. 

    Throughout her career, she set 22 Arizona individual records including career points and rebounds. She also still holds some of those records today. She was also the first Arizona player to ever be drafted to the WNBA. 

    Delaney Schnell

    A 2020 Olympic silver medalist, Schnell has left a mark at Arizona. In her freshman year, she was an All-American in the 1-meter dive and was named the Pac-12’s Women’s Freshman Diver of the Year, and she also finished with the highest score on her team. She finished with the highest scores on the team that year in the prelims in both the platform and the 3-meter at that year’s Pac-12 Championships. 

    Her sophomore year she improved and was an All-American in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform dive. She scored the highest at the 3-meter and platform dives at the NCAA Championships. 

    COVID-19 wiped out her junior year, but she had her best year ever this past year. She medaled in the synchro platform dive with silver. 

    She was an All-American in the platform and 1-meter and was the Pac-12 Champion in those events as well. She was the Pac-12 Diver of the Year and even broke the Pac-12 and school record for the platform dive with a score of 383.35.

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