Aari McDonald named Pac-12 Player of the Year

Aari McDonald named Pac-12 Player of the Year
(Source: Mike Christy)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona women’s basketball cleaned up on the Pac-12 postseason awards on Monday, highlighted by All-American guard Aari McDonald being named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The senior finished the season leading the Pac-12 in scoring and steals per game for the third-straight season, a feat no other player in conference history has achieved.

McDonald is Arizona’s second Conference Player of the Year (Adia Barnes, 1998) and is the first player in school history to win Defensive Player of the Year twice. McDonald is also the first player since Chiney Ogwumike to be named both Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season and is the first back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year since Ruth Hamblin.

The Wildcats were represented well on the 15-player All-Pac-12 team as McDonald, Sam Thomas and Cate Reese earned All-Conference honors while Trinity Baptiste was named honorable mention. Arizona has never had three players on the All-Conference Team and it is the first time since 1998 that four players were named either All-Conference or honorable mention.

For the second year in a row, Arizona put two players on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team as McDonald and Thomas were named to the five-player team. McDonald is now three-time Pac-12 All-Defense selection while Thomas is a two-time selection.

Lastly, Lauren Ware was named Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention, making it four seasons in a row where Arizona is represented on the All-Freshman Team.

Arizona goes into the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 2 seed and will play their first game in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 6 p.m. MST.

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