This year, Arizona women’s sports took home multiple national titles, making university history in the process.
Most notably, the Arizona women’s basketball team far exceeded expectations for the 2018-2019 season when the team quadrupled the previous season’s win total. The Wildcats finished 24-13, taking home the WNIT Championship for the second time in school history.
The ‘Cats were led by standout redshirt sophomore guard Aari McDonald and freshman forward Cate Reese. McDonald and Reese earned spots on the WNIT All-Tournament team, and McDonald was named the MVP of the tournament.
For the championship game against Northwestern University, the Wildcats set a program and conference record of 14,644 fans in a sold-out McKale Center. McDonald and Reese were also recognized at the CATSYS award banquet. Reese was named UA Freshman Female Athlete of the Year and McDonald was named one of two athletes for Sophomore Female Athlete of the Year. Next season, the women’s team hopes to secure a spot in the NCAA D-I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Next, the Arizona softball team has experienced another great year led by the group known as the “Hillenbrand Bombers” juniors Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, Dejah Mulipola and Jessie Harper. The Wildcats, who have been ranked within the top 10 for the majority of season, began conference play 16-0 and put up a 21-game winning streak up until April 27, when they lost to California 1-0.
The junior class of Palomino-Cardoza, Mulipola, Harper, Malia Martinez, Reyna Carranco and Alyssa Denham were also named the Junior Female Athlete of the Year at the CATSYS. In the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft, senior pitcher Taylor McQullin was selected sixth overall to the Cleveland Comets. The team will be tested in the next couple of days as it look to face off against powerhouse UCLA to close out Pac-12 play.
Arizona beach volleyball had a remarkable season, posting its best regular season record in UA history. Ranked 13th in the country, the Wildcats rode a 14-game winning streak into the postseason but ended the year with a loss to California on April 26. Despite the loss, the team performed better than expected and has much to look forward to with standout freshman Jasmine Safar looking to be a rising star.
Finally, women’s golf will start their postseason journey to another NCAA championship this week. After taking second in the Pac-12 Championships, the ‘Cats will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed in their region behind Stanford. Sophomore Yu-Sang Hou and seniors Bianca Pagdanganan and Haley Moore will look to make big impacts for their team, as Hou and Pagdanganan were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and Moore earned Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Moore was also named the CATSY’s Ruby Award winner on April 22.
While UA’s most traditionally recognized sports will look to make a comeback in the fall, these women’s sports and their female athletes deserve the highest recognition.
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