This Aurora basketball star is playing in the Final Four this weekend

Iowa’s Addison O’Grady gave LSU’s Angel Reese ‘fits’ during the most-watched women’s college basketball game in history. Here’s what’s next.
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LSU forward Angel Reese (10) looks to pass against Iowa forward Addison O’Grady (44) during the third quarter of an Elite Eight round college basketball game during the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ahead of Iowa's clash with LSU in the Elite 8 last weekend, Addison O'Grady told herself one thing: The former Aurora basketball star would have to be the most aggressive version of herself. And, in front of the record 12.3 million people who tuned in to watch the game, it was clear she understood the assignment.

"It's kind of easy to get up for a game like this when you're playing against someone who's really aggressive too," O'Grady, who played at Grandview High School, said in the locker room after the game. "That helps because you can just battle with them, and battling with Angel (Reese) really helps me be more aggressive."

That's the Angel Reese; LSU star, All-American and defending national champion.

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O'Grady brings a necessary balance to Iowa's fast pace attack. While star guard Caitlin Clark has made headlines hitting three point shots from the next time zone, O'Grady has made a living pushing people around down low, under the basket.

In Monday night's rematch, starting forward Hannah Stuelke got into early foul trouble defending Reese and was forced to sit. In stepped O'Grady, who promptly brought Angel down to earth.

"Addi went in and played some good minutes tonight for us," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after the game. "I think she did a nice job in there."

“She came in, and she brought the size that I don’t have," Stuelke told the Daily Iowan. "And I think it gave Angel some fits."

On the few occasions Reese possessed the ball near the hoop, O'Grady seemed to force the All-American so far behind the backboard that Reese couldn't see the basket. What often followed was a desperate shot and an errant miss. In the 15 crucial minutes O'Grady was on the court, Reese scored only once, on a breakaway play far from O'Grady.

"It gives me a lot of confidence. And just what coach keeps saying, 'You never know when your number's going to get called,'" O'Grady said. "Just do whatever I can to help this team."

Iowa forward Addison O'Grady (44) scores in front of LSU guard Aneesah Morrow (24) during the first half of a Elite Eight college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Her five points might not have drawn a lot of attention in the shadow of another record breaking night and 41 points by Clark. But O'Grady's four defensive rebounds, one block and scoring shutout against Reese were critical to Iowa's 94-87 win and to clinching back-to-back Final Four appearances.

"I don't think I can even wrap my head around it really. That was our goal. So, we are not as shocked right now," she said. "I think I'm going to look back in 10 years and be like, 'Wow, that's crazy.'"

And she'll need to be her most aggressive self again when Iowa takes on UConn in the semifinals. While player-of-the-year award winners Clark and Paige Bueckers trade jump shots and highlights, O'Grady will be charged with helping slow down All-Big East star Aaliyah Edwards.

"The goal is to win the national championship," O'Grady said. "Two more games and we will be there."

Iowa and UConn tip off at 7 p.m. Friday.

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