Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Notes: Aari McDonald Not Only Member of Her Family to Shine at McKale Center

Remember the name Tre’Von Willis?

Recall what he did against Arizona when UNLV beat Arizona in double-overtime at McKale Center in Sean Miller’s first season of 2009-10?

How about 25 points to lead the Runnin’ Rebels, coached by Lon Kruger back then, after he had only six points when almost 9 minutes remained in regulation.

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That’s Aari McDonald’s brother. Their mother is Andrea McDonald. They hail from Fresno, Calif.

McKale Center obviously is a haven for these siblings.

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Aari McDonald has reached at least 25 points seven times this season at McKale Center, site of Saturday’s WNIT championship against Northwestern at noon (CBS Sports Network). In one season, she has become the only player in school history to have eight 30-points games.

That is significant inasmuch as she is 29 points shy of joining Washington’s Kelsey Plum and Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike as the only Pac-12 players to reach at least 900 points in a season. McDonald is at 871 heading into the season’s last game against Northwestern.

Pac-12 Season Scoring Leaders

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Arizona going after Pac-12 attendance record

The largest audience to watch a game at a Pac-12 arena is 12,364 in February when Oregon hosted Oregon State. Arizona is going after that record with the hope of selling out McKale Center for tomorrow’s game. That would mean a crowd of about 14,700.

Arizona coach Adia Barnes tweeted this yesterday:

Social Media Blitz of Well-Wishes from Other UA Sports

Arizona’s athletic department published a series of tweets yesterday and this morning of athletic director Dave Heeke and different coaches and athletes wishing Barnes and her team the best of luck against Northwestern.

Northwestern Coach 3-1 Against Arizona

Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, 62, will face Arizona for the fifth time coaching against a fourth different Wildcat head coach.

McKeown has been a head coach for 33 years at New Mexico State, George Washington and Northwestern. Come Saturday, he will coach against the Wildcats at every stop. He has compiled a 3-1 record against Arizona.

In three successive years as New Mexico State’s coach 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89, McKeown coached against Arizona’s Wendy Larry and June Olkowski. His team beat the Wildcats and Larry in 1986 and 1987 before losing in 1988.

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McKeown will find McKale Center on Saturday to be a much different place than when New Mexico State beat Olkowski’s Wildcats 80-66 in front of only 200 fans in 1987.

McKeown did not face Arizona again until coaching at George Washington when the Wildcats traveled to Maryland to play in an early-season tournament in 2006 and faced the Colonials in the first game. Arizona, with Joan Bonvicini as coach, lost 69-65.

McKeown, who has a reputation as a fiery coach, moved from George Washington to Northwestern in 2008 partly because his family wanted to move to Chicago for better healthcare and services for his autistic son.

He has a career record of 676-334. He made it as far as the NCAA Elite Eight with George Washington in 1996-97. He has one NCAA tournament appearance (first round) with Northwestern in 2014-15. This is his fifth WNIT appearance with Northwestern in his 11 years with the program.

Northwestern old Big Ten foe for McBryde

Arizona junior forward Dominique McBryde went 2-1 in three Big Ten meetings against Northwestern while with Purdue as a freshman and sophomore (2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively).

She averaged 10 points and 5.3 rebounds in those three games.

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She said after Wednesday’s win over TCU that McKeown brings out an intense style to his team.

“I know their coach emphasizes a lot of mental toughness, and mental toughness down the stretch,” she said. “You know they’re going to play hard the whole entire game so we just have to match their intensity.”

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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