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Fireworks after Arizona women’s basketball loss at Oregon play out on Twitter

What happened in Eugene?

Stanford v Arizona Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For 30 minutes on Saturday, Arizona women’s basketball overcame both foul trouble and a hostile environment to build a double-digit lead over Oregon. The last 15 were less flattering, as the Wildcats fell in overtime 68-66. Overshadowing the game was the story afterward. What happened between the coaches?

Accusations by the Oregon faithful were made that Arizona head coach Adia Barnes made an obscene gesture towards Oregon head coach Kelly Graves after the game. That Barnes made a similar gesture after beating Connecticut on national TV last year played into the outrage. This time, there was no photographic evidence produced, but Barnes didn’t deny it, posting an apology on social media shortly after the game.

The question is why she would do so. It was the 68th loss of her head coaching career, so it’s not like she’s never experienced losing. It’s not even the first time Arizona has lost late on questionable officiating during her tenure.

Barnes and her players responded to a few critics on social media late Saturday and into Sunday afternoon. From the Arizona camp, the explanation was that Graves hurled obscenities at Barnes during the game.

Adia Barnes on her conflict with Oregon head coach Kelly Graves during and after the game.

At the very least, it lit a fire under the Wildcats, who have circled Feb. 4 on their calendar.

It’s doubtful that anyone not wearing cardinal and navy in Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday afternoon will step forward to verify the accusations against Graves or defend Barnes, but some in the coaching field took to her defense even before the explanation. Chief among them was South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley weighs in on events in Eugene.

Barnes is moving on and her players are looking forward to hosting Oregon in McKale in just under three weeks.