Aari McDonald scored 33 points and the Mercado Region No. 3 seed Arizona Wildcats defeated the No. 4 seed Indiana Hoosiers 66-53 on Monday night in San Antonio, advancing to the first Final Four in program history.
The Wildcats will face 11-time national champion UConn in the Final Four.
Helena Pueyo made her second 3-pointer of the game to put Arizona up 57-50 with 3:17 to play and the Wildcats could breathe a little easier after that. Indiana had tied it twice and cut it to one three times in the second half.
The Wildcats had extended their lead to seven on McDonald’s fifth 3-pointer of the contest with 5:25 to play. She was 5-of-6 from deep at the time, which is how she finished. Indiana had tied it 16 seconds into the final frame, but, much like in the third quarter, Arizona refused to fall behind with key offensive plays. Trinity Baptiste made a triple to make it 49-46 Arizona and Pueyo made a triple to make it 52-48.
Indiana got a reprieve when McDonald missed a three at the buzzer of the third, keeping the Hoosiers’ deficit at two. Mackenzie Holmes had tied the game at 44 with a layup at the 1:06 mark of the period before McDonald secured a ferocious offensive rebound and put back a layup of her own to make it 46-44.
Before Holmes tied the game, Indiana got within one three times in the third (at 4:21, 2:12 and 1:45 remaining). Those instances came after the team was down as many as eight in the quarter.
Arizona led 27-23 at the break.
McDonald had 17 points in first half and Arizona held Indiana to 0-of-5 shooting from distance. The Hoosiers finished 0-of-9. The Wildcats’ biggest lead of the first half was four. The Hoosiers’ was three.