Arizona's Numbers Game: Dominant LB, softball great at UA at same time

2013-06-18T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:17:39Z Arizona's Numbers Game: Dominant LB, softball great at UA at same timePatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

For two weeks, we've asked you to choose the best Arizona Wildcats football and basketball players to ever wear the numbers on their jerseys.

Now, we ask you to compare UA players who wore the same numbers across sports. It's our Numbers Game, All-Star Edition.

Enjoy the debate.

Who wore it best?

The number: 27

The showdown: Softball star Jennie Finch vs. football star Lance Briggs

The comparison

Lance Briggs (1999-2002)

The stats: The linebacker led the Wildcats in tackles in each of his final three seasons, earning first-team all-league honors in all three. Briggs' 308 career tackles are 16th in UA history. In 2001, he led the team with 6 1/2 sacks. He led the UA in fumble recoveries in 2001 and 2002.

The details: Briggs was a spectacular player on four mediocre teams. From 1999-2002, the UA went 20-26 and never played in a bowl game. He was a captain of the 2002 team that went 4-8.

The postscript: Briggs has one of the great pro resumes of any UA player in any sport. A third-round draftee by the 2003 Chicago Bears, he reached seven Pro Bowls, more than any UA grad. He participated in the 2007 Super Bowl and still plays for Chicago.

Jennie Finch (1999-2002)

The stats: Finch's 2001 season might never be touched: She went 32-0 as a pitcher, leading the Wildcats to the Women's College World Series title and earning a tournament MVP award. She won 109 career games, striking out 1,028. In the circle, she won an NCAA-record 60 consecutive games, in addition to playing first base.

The details: Finch was one of the most dominant softball players of all time. She won the Honda Award, given to the nation's best player, in 2001 and 2002, and was a first-team All-American three times.

The postscript: Finch played professionally for National Pro Fastpitch and won gold in the 2004 Olympics and silver in 2008 before retiring three years ago. She left as the most famous softball player ever, having crossed over to Sports Illustrated, Celebrity Apprentice and national television ads that still appear today.

The one-sentence debate: They were on campus at the same time: the face of her sport, and one of the UA's most successful pro football players of all time.

results

• Monday's question: Which UA athlete wore No. 32 better: basketball player Sean Elliott or baseball player Terry Francona?

• Results: Elliott wins with 89 percent of the vote

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