From Andrea Adelson of ESPN:
Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes said Saturday that she has nothing to apologize for after she used a middle finger and an expletive in a postgame huddle with her team in the joyous moments following a 69-59 win over UConn in the Final Four.
The moment, caught on ESPN cameras, went viral immediately after the win Friday night clinched the Wildcats a spot in the national championship game for the first time in school history. In her postgame news conference, Barnes admitted “I did say a cuss word. The cuss word is basically, ‘Forget everybody. … Forget everybody if they don’t believe in us, because we believe in us.’”
During a Zoom call Saturday to preview the national championship game against Stanford on Sunday, Barnes said she thought she was sharing a private moment with her team after pulling the upset.
“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 felt disrespected at multiple times throughout the tournament, culminating with the NCAA leaving them out of a promotional video previewing the women’s Final Four earlier this week.
“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?”