Where does this rank in your mind, is some of the best tournament performances of all time. Um to me, this is the best um she’s been amazing. Just i mean stars make big plays and they step up when it really counts. No one remembers how you start to remember how you finish. You know and aries said it perfectly. At times this year she struggled a little bit um. You know. I think that wasn’t letting the game come to her. You know really trying to really carry us so much, and i think that um i’ve seen a different area in the tournament just more relaxed, more at ease really leading the team in so many different ways and letting the game come to her and she’s been unstoppable. I mean no one can guard her um. You know just for her to have 31 33 and then to shoot the percentage that she shot and then like harry’s, only about five, two, no just kidding she’s like five five, but to have 11 rebounds it’s. It and four assists she’s just been playing at another level and i’m, just so proud of her, because all her hard work is paying off and she’s just been phenomenal and she’s leading this team. When did you think that this was a real possibility? Uh, you know in the arizona program she thought it was last year that you know, but when did you think you guys could legitimately do this um? You know i i mean, if you would have told me: oh this year, we’re gon na be playing uconn in the final four i would have said.
Okay, i don’t know about that. Um, you know i. It became a reality that we could do something really special. Last year last year, just the the way that we won games um. I think it really helped us. We lost like three or four double overtime games the year prior to that we couldn’t win the like against oregon state against ucla and triple overtime against the elite. Um teams in the pack toy weren’t able to get those wins, but then the following year, which is last year, we were able to convert and get those wins, because we had that experience of playing really good teams down the stretch. So it was unfortunate for us. We didn’t get that tournament experience last year, but i thought last year we had a chance. I felt like we would have gone deep in the tournament. But then you look at this year. We didn’t have last year’s tournament experience, but since the since the pac 12 tournament, we played bad um at the end of the pac 12 tournament. We kind of we got back um, we rested mentally and physically. We worked on a couple key things and we just played at another level starting from the tournament like it wasn’t perfect today, but i felt like we’ve just found ways to to get wins and found ways to make big plays and it’s the small things that everybody’s Doing but everybody has found a way to bring their game to raise their game a level and um that’s.
Why i’m so proud, because i’m, looking in their eyes and there’s a fire there’s, a belief, there’s, a confidence there’s a will to win, and – and i love that so i i don’t feel i wasn’t super nervous about the game. I thought okay they’re gon na give it all so we’re gon na do everything we can and if, if it’s meant to be we’ll, win and um, you know i, when you look in your players, eyes and there’s this look of belief and and um. You know confidence, i i love coaching that so i i try to coach my heart out and do my best for them. What makes this team so special that they’re here now and and a possibility of doing so, what you think is doing so much more than this! This team is special because, if you look at like top to bottom on our roster, we don’t have multiple all americans. We don’t have um, you know aries are all american our go to player, but we have. You know a lot of people that were maybe overlooked or um or just not stars, but we’ve had people that have really stepped up. I mean sam thomas um had one pac 12 offer. She was with me the first year we won six games and that’s when arie was sitting out on the sideline um for due to transferring um. So sam is the last one in her class and she just stuck it out.
She never had lost so much in her life and stuck it out and she’s so valuable, and i mean that we have some players on our team that maybe they’re starters for us. Maybe they wouldn’t be starters in other other teams, but um it’s, very hard for us to have sam off the floor, keep ross for it’s hard. She plays the one through five for us. She does everything we ask, then we have kate reese, who has improved so much um. She scores inside scores out. She makes tough plays um. She believes in everything we do. She runs the floor. Like a gazelle, then we have bendu transfer from indiana who is um an amazing defender who brings us tough experience. Um drives to the basket. Does everything we ask and plays within our roles? Then we have elena a sharpshooter off the bench and lauren ware young who’s. Getting great experience he’s going to be a star in in our conference and in the country and then shayna i don’t know too many people that can guard china going downhill she’s. One of the best athletes in the country and she’s um came to arizona. Do something special also and we have and then trinity, no one thought trinity would come to the best coast, i always say the west coast, but she’s a florida. Kid that’s just made a huge impact on our program. She’S bought muscle, she’s brought toughness. She showed up big in control on the boards.
She’S been phenomenal. I wish she would. I wish i would have coached her for four years, so our whole team does their role. No one tries to step outside their role. Um, you know they play for each other. We play hard, and so i just can’t ask for anything else in a team they do whatever. I ask they’ll run through a wall for me, and so i love coaching. The team like that, i can’t ask for anything more. What does this all mean to you at this moment? This is what you said. You were going to do and you’re on your way. This means a lot it’s a surreal moment. Um literally, i was on facebook yesterday and yesterday made it a year that i said i was coming back. I mean it’s, just crazy how things come full circle. I mean you make goals and to see yourself and your team achieve them like it’s, it’s, crazy and i’m. Just so excited like we just beat a great team um, but i mean man i’m, proud of my team. So much you know this is crazy and i give thanks to god. This is a big deal. We just created more history, gary uh 64 points in these last two games. Can you just comment on how you stepped up and how your teammates helped that um? When you know you know you’re feeling it um, i knew i wasn’t doing too well in, like the regular season like conference stuff, i was shooting taking bad shots and stuff but i’m letting the game come to me and my teammates are putting me into several positions.
The coaches are putting me in successful positions as well and i’m, really just taking what the defense has given me honestly, but um credits to my teammates and my coaches and then coach barnes always talks about the five minute wars. Can you talk about the last five minutes of the game? Yeah um. I think there was like a time out called with like 4 36 left, and we knew that was going to be our last war. We knew they were going to try and make the game as long as possible and try and foul us all us out full court. So we just tried to try to stay composed. Obviously, area went down for a little bit, so we knew that we had to win this game for not only bendu but also airy yeah. This is for trinity. First um trinity. You came up big tonight. I mean it was a team win, but you were all over the place and once when arie went out, you got that rebound and you were on that. It was that passion play. You were on the ground rolling around. What was the aggressive extra aggressiveness tonight? All about uh! Well, i mean i just give praise to god. You know the man of for giving me strength and just just giving me an extra allowing me to be extra light for this team, and just i just want to do anything to win. You know and when erie went down, uh she’s a warrior, so she got right back up, walked it off she and she looked.
She looked us in our eyes and said she’s coming back in the game, so i knew she was okay, but i didn’t want to leave her aside, so i just want to make sure she was okay but it’s, just passion.