Aari McDonald earns Pac-12 and NCAA Women’s Player of the Week

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Griffin Riley | The Daily Wildcat Aari McDonald (2) and the women's basketball team watch coach Adia Barnes speak after their over TCU on Apr. 3 in the McKale Center.

This past week, junior Aari McDonald showcased that she is not only an elite two-way guard, but is also one of the most special talents in the country. She averaged 34 points on 79.3% shooting (23-29), was 20-20 from the free-throw line and contributed 3 steals in two blowout victories against Chicago State and Texas.

Not only were both incredible individual performances on the road, but McDonald made school history on Sunday. Against No. 22 Texas, McDonald broke Arizona’s single-game scoring record with 44 points (14-for-18 from the field). She was 16 points shy of tying Long Beach State’s Cindy Brown’s single-game scoring record of 60 points from back in 1987.

RELATED: Arizona women's basketball upsets No. 22 Texas on the road

Her dominating display at the Frank Erwin Center looked like she was playing at the park by herself with how self-possessed she looked. She displayed her entire bag of tricks, hitting crossover mid-range jumpers, step-back threes and the ability to drive to the basket and finish at will, all the while playing lockdown defense.

McDonald’s heroic efforts this past week have earned her ESPNW and Pac-12 player of the week honors. Additionally, the Wildcats are 4-0, surprising many people by how well they have been playing. It is expected that Arizona will break the top-25 rankings within this next week, somewhere they have not been since December 2004.

With McDonald averaging 25.3 points per game (6th in the nation) and the rest of the team contributing at a high level, it will be interesting to see how much of a threat Arizona can become in the Pac-12 this season.


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