If there was one player in this tournament a team would want taking a shot to win, it was Arizona’s Aari McDonald. Today was no different; McDonald had 22 points heading into the final possession, though Stanford had certainly made her work for it with 20 shots from the floor.
The final few moments included Stanford committing a shot clock violation with their final possession, after 30 seconds of standing around. It was certainly a choice. The Wildcats called timeout, setting up a play to get McDonald the ball. Everyone watching on television, everyone in the building, and every player on the court knew it was going to McDonald.
Stanford ended up swarming her after almost denying her the ball to begin with. McDonald still got a shot off. And, well:
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) April 5, 2021
What an ending to a fantastic tournament on the court. Off the court, the many ways in which the NCAA fails to ensure equity between men’s and women’s sports were laid bare in the San Antonio bubble. The images of the women’s “weight room” and other stark examples that went viral might end up being as iconic as Stanford celebrating the win after McDonald’s shot bounced off the rim.
We can hold both things in our heads at the same time, though. They’re not working in opposition. We don’t have to pick one. Anyone (cough*the NCAA itself*cough) trying to use a very fun on-court tournament to distract you from everything else is trying to sell you something broken, as-is, no returns.
Don’t let them.
What a game, what a win, what a tournament.