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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


All down to this: WNIT Championship preview

Griffin Riley
Members of the Arizona women’s basketball team huddle before their game against TCU on Apr. 3 in the McKale Center.

For the first time since 1996, Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball will be playing in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament championship game, taking on Northwestern in a battle of the Wildcats.

The 1996 Arizona Wildcats were led by Adia Barnes, a player at the time, and won it all by beating none other than Northwestern. This year’s team now has the opportunity to do the same, this time with Barnes as head coach.

The Wildcats will be hosting the championship Saturday, April 6, at noon in McKale Center. There have been over 11,500 tickets pre-sold as of Friday afternoon. Barnes asked for a sellout, and she is well on her way to reaching that goal. If you can’t join the Tucson faithful in the stands, the game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

          RELATED: In front of 10,000-plus, Wildcats advance to WNIT Championship game

Arizona enters the championship game with a record of 23-13, coming off a thrilling 59-53 win over Texas Christian University in the Final Four. Aari McDonald had 19 points, adding nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Dominique McBryde had 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Three out of the Wildcats’ five postseason wins have been by double digits, beating Idaho State, Pacific and Wyoming in that fashion, with the win over TCU and an eight-point win over Idaho as their two single-digit wins.

          RELATED: Best photos of Arizona vs TCU

Northwestern comes to Tucson with a 21-14 record. Its wins in the tournament have come in a different fashion. After winning the opening round game against Dayton by 23 points, its largest margin of victory was seven points. Sophomore Lindsey Pulliam is averaging 20 points per game, while senior Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah opened up the tournament with a 17 point, 11 rebound double-double. Other than the two, the Northwestern Wildcats don’t have a player averaging double-digit points on the season.

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