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Aari McDonald named Pac-12 Player of the Year

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 20:21:32-05

TUCSON, Arizona — Aari McDonald being has been named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

The Wildcat senior finished the season leading the Pac-12 in scoring and steals per game for the third-straight season, an accomplishment no other player in conference history has achieved.

McDonald, a senior guard, is Arizona’s second Conference Player of the Year. Current head coach Adia Barnes won the honor in 1998. McDonald 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 she is the first back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year since Ruth Hamblin.

Other Wildcats were represented well on the 15-player All-Pac-12 team. Sam Thomas and Cate Reese earned All-Conference honors. Trinity Baptiste was named honorable mention. Arizona had 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.

Senior Sam Thomas joined McDonald the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. McDonald is now three-time Pac-12 All-Defense selection while Thomas is a two-time selection.

Additionally, 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.