Adia Barnes Delivers Moving Speech After Losing The National Title

The 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship is a game that we'll be talking about for quite some time. Going back and forth for 39 minutes, the game was ultimately decided in the final seconds of the showdown. With time ticking off the clock, Arizona Guard Aari McDonald got off a thought three-point shot while being guarded by three defenders. Unfortunately, it hit the back of the rim, bounced to the floor and the Stanford Cardinal walked away with the national title. Even in defeat, Arizona Women's Basketball Head Coach Adia Barnes refused to let her team make the trip home from San Antonio without holding their heads high.

"This team is so special. I am so proud. We fought. We weren’t the best team in the tournament. No one thought we’d be here. We believed in each other. We didn’t play a great game, but we battled. We played our hearts out. We came within one possession," she told reporters.

At one point, getting to the national championship felt like a far-off dream. Prior to this season, Barnes and the Wildcats had never even made it to the Final Four. Adding to her list of responsibilities as a coach, Barnes had a child shortly before the season. In fact, she had to feed her child during halftime of the title game. Not to mention, she represents the handful of Black coaches in college basketball. Simply put, Barnes overcame so much to get where she did and understands that she represents a lot for a lot of different people.

"I represented a lot of things today. I look back at my journey with this team. I had a baby right when the season started. Took like a week off. It says I took a month off, but I did not. I was on Zoom calls four days after having a C-section. It was hard. But my team loved on me. I missed a couple [of] weeks. I got a little sick. They fought for me. I came back. They were patient. I’m happy," Barnes said.

"I represented moms. I have a baby here, you can hear her crying, ready to feed. I represent moms. You can be [a] coach, be at an elite level. You just have to have a village-like I do. I represent Black females who don’t get her too often or don’t get opportunities."

Barnes is not done here. She is five years into her coaching career and she's only getting better. Meanwhile, Aari McDonald is heading to the 2021 WNBA Draft where she's expected to be a top-five pick.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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