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Aari McDonald leads Arizona women's basketball to first Elite Eight in program history

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SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27: Arizona takes on Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 at Alamodome on March 27, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos)

The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Texas A&M on Saturday, March 27, in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

“We are peaking at the right time and ready to make more history,” Aari McDonald said. 

The Wildcats were led behind their star player McDonald, who scored 31 points and had a great day shooting the ball shooting 57% from the field and 50% from the three. This was her 90th consecutive game scoring in double figures. 

“I wasn’t surprised at how I was scoring,” McDonald said. “I'm confident in my abilities and once I get going, I’m hard to stop and I think I’m hard to top as it is. I’m not being cocky at all, I’m just confident in what I can do.”

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Arizona went into halftime with a 35-32 lead but by the end of the third quarter, Arizona jumped out to a 13-point lead and controlled the game.

Arizona dominated with their full-court pressure defense. They caused Texas A&M to speed up their offense and force several mistakes. Arizona forced 19 turnovers which allowed them to score 28 points off of those turnovers. Arizona limited its turnovers to eight and only allowed two points off of them. 



“Our identity is on the defensive end, so it starts our offense and we know we have to be aggressive,” McDonald said. “They have a tremendous point guard, very skilled and solid, so it started with us and we had to lock her down and I think we did a great job tonight.”

Arizona had a season-high in three-point field goals. Arizona hit 13 threes and six of them came from McDonald. Sam Thomas had three, Shaina Pellington had two, Helena Pueyo and Bendu Yeaney had one apiece. 

The Wildcats will now face Indiana on Monday, March 29, in their first Elite Eight appearance in program history. 


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