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Arizona forward Sam Thomas will return for fifth season

Arizona forward Sam Thomas will return for fifth season

  • Updated

Sam Thomas, who endured a six-win season as a freshman only to advance all the way to the national championship game as a senior, isn't done yet.

Thomas said during Monday's welcome-home event that she will be returning to the Wildcats next season. The NCAA is granting an extra year of eligibility to everybody who competed during the coronavirus pandemic this year.

"I love you guys so much, it's been a great journey with my teammates, and I'm going to come back for one more year," she said, prompting cheers of excitement from the fans gathered at Arizona Stadium and celebratory dancing from her teammates.

Thomas was a stat-sheet-filler this season, averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds while adding 61 steals and 31 blocks. Thomas could be in line to take on a larger scoring role with star guard Aari McDonald off to the WNBA. Thomas scored 12 points in the Wildcats' upset win over UConn in the national semifinals.

Thomas recently earned the NCAA’s Elite90 honor for academics in all of Division I women’s basketball. Thomas graduated from the UA in three years, carrying a 3.97 GPA, and is now earning her master’s in educational leadership. In March, she was named Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year.

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