March Madness: Arizona WBB underdogs in 2nd-round matchup with Maryland

Mar 18, 2023, 2:55 PM

Arizona women’s basketball is the last of four teams from the state alive in March Madness after defeating West Virginia 75-62 in the Round of 64 on Friday.

The No. 7 seed Wildcats will face No. 2 seed Maryland Sunday at 2:30 p.m. for a shot at the Sweet 16 after the Terrapins defeated Holy Cross 95-71.

“I do like our matchup in the next round, I think that we can have success against both teams, against Holy Cross and Maryland,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said in her postgame press conference on Friday.

“Are they good teams? Heck, yeah. They can beat anybody in the country. In March, anyone can win on any given day. I’m never afraid of a challenge, and I don’t think my team is.”

Senior guard Lauren Fields told media members the team in practice emphasized playing together and getting stops after a first-round exit in the Pac-12 Tournament against UCLA.

West Virginia shot only 31.3% from the field against Arizona, which had eight blocks in the win, a season high.

Maryland won seven straight games before falling to Iowa in the Big 10 Tournament semifinals. It has the No. 10 scoring offense in the country at 79.4 points per game led by All-American guard Diamond Miller’s 19.5.

“I mean to me, seeding is nothing but a number at this point,” guard Shaina Pellington told the media. “I mean anybody can go out and win a game at this point. I feel like you’re either going to show up or you’re going to get beat. So I think at this point I think all of us mentally we’re ready to show up. We don’t want our seasons to end, and I feel like we’re willing to do whatever is necessary to win, and that’s the mindset for tomorrow.”

“We’re the underdog, and I think usually the underdogs have the more — they’re able to play better just because they don’t have as much pressure,” Fields added. “So I think we can use that to our advantage going into this game.”

Arizona fell in the second round last season as a No. 4 seed against No. 5 seed North Carolina after reaching the National Championship game in 2021.

Barnes said that run to the Final Four is old news, but she’s seen enough upsets to know anything can happen.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese called Arizona a well-coached and experienced team that she felt is better than a typical No. 7 seed.

Miller said Arizona’s defensive pressure is what stood out on film, so ball security will be their focus against a team with the eighth-best turnover margin in the nation at 6.13.

Arizona Basketball

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