Arizona's women's basketball team went viral on Friday night, and not just because it knocked UConn out of the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Adia Barnes used her middle finger and an expletive in a postgame huddle while celebrating the program's Final Four win, and the intimate moment was caught by cameras. During the postgame press conference, she confirmed her actions, but Saturday, she said she won't apologize for her reaction.
"I honestly had a moment with my team, and I thought it was a more intimate huddle," she 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 her players have said they've felt disrespected throughout the tournament, like how they were omitted from the NCAA's Final Four hype video.
"After going round by round, winning more, getting more love and then thinking that we finally got some respect, and obviously the video, other stuff that happened, it kind of was like a dagger," Arizona forward Sam Thomas said. "So I think now we're just, we're in it for ourselves. If people want to support us, we love it. If people want to hate us, I mean, we're in the national championship, so what more can you say?"
The Wildcats upset UConn, 69–59, to advance to the women's national championship game. They led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, giving UConn its largest deficit of the season.
Prior to this run, Arizona had never before been to a Final Four. It will now play Stanford on Sunday in the first-ever all Pac-12 national championship game in NCAA history, men's and women's.
SI’s tournament newsletter analyzes everything you need to know about the Big Dance: what just happened and what’s happening next. Sign up for Morning Madness here.