Arizona stunned No. 1 seed Connecticut 69-59 in the Final Four Friday night to advance to its first NCAA women's basketball national championship game. The upset victory over perennial powerhouse UConn had plenty of people talking, but a moment during the Wildcats’ postgame huddle has drawn just as much, if not more, attention.
Arizona’s Final Four victory was the kind of moment that you live for as a player and as a coach. So you can’t fault head coach Adia Barnes for being extremely enthusiastic after her Wildcats took down the most successful program in NCAA women's basketball history to advance to the title game.
In the moments following the victory, ESPN cameras captured Barnes’ impassioned speech to her team in a huddle, which happened to include a middle finger and an expletive, and it didn’t take long for the moment to go viral.
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Barnes addressed the viral moment during a Saturday morning press conference, where she explained that she believed she was sharing a private moment with her team after pulling off the upset. But she also made it clear that she’s not going to apologize for what she said and did.
Adia Barnes on a morning press conference and is asked about the TV clip showing her animated postgame speech to her team:
“I’m not apologizing for it because I don’t feel that I need to apologize… I wouldn’t take it back.” pic.twitter.com/C54yUIwqBb
“I honestly had a moment with my team, and I thought it was a more intimate huddle,” Barnes said. “I said to my team something that I truly felt and I know they felt, and it just appeared different on TV, but I’m not apologizing for it because I don’t feel like I need to apologize. It’s what I felt with my team at the moment. I wouldn’t take it back. We’ve gone to war together. We believe in each other. So I’m in those moments, and that’s how I am, so I don’t apologize for doing that. I’m just me, and I have to just be me.”
Barnes and the Wildcats will face No. 1 overall seed Stanford, coached by Tara VanDerveer, in an all Pac-12 championship game on Sunday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN).
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