Aari McDonald continued to pile on her accolades, being named one of the four finalists for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Wade Trophy today, and two former Arizona players, including her coach Adia Barnes, were finalists for WBCA Coach of the Year.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who played at Arizona from 1988-92, was also a finalist for Coach of the Year. That honor went to South Carolina’s Dawn Staley. Barnes, a standout at Arizona from 1994-98, remains a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award.
McDonald joins Dana Evans (Louisville), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina) and Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon) to complete the list of four finalists for the Wade Award, a prestigious honor presented by the WBCA each year to the best player in college women’s basketball. The WBCA will announce the winner of the 2020 Wade Trophy on April 2.
As one of the top four players listed by the WBCA, McDonald, a fourth-year junior, has a reasonable chance to be chosen a first-team All-American by the WBCA. Barnes is the only player in Arizona history with a first-team All-American honor — by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) in 1997-98.
McDonald has been named an AP and USBWA second-team All-American as well as a Region Finalist for WBCA All-America. She is also a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award and the Wooden Award for player of the year.
The Fresno, Calif., native is the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-Pac-12 after leading the Pac-12 in scoring (20.6 points per game) and steals per game (2.3). She is the only player in conference history to lead the Pac-12 in scoring and steals twice.
She finished the season 10th in the country in scoring and has scored in double-figures in 66 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation which is also her entire Arizona career. She helped lead Arizona to 24 wins this season, which is tied for the second-most wins in school history while also leading the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12, Arizona’s best finish since 2011.
Arizona Women's Basketball All-Americans
|1991-92||Margo Clark||Basketball Times||Honorable mention|
|1996-97||Adia Barnes||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|1996-97||Adia Barnes||Kodak/WBCA||Honorable mention|
|1997-98||Adia Barnes||Associated Press||Third team|
|1997-98||Adia Barnes||WBCA/Kodak||Honorable mention|
|1997-98||Adia Barnes||USBWA||First team|
|1997-98||Adia Barnes||Women’s Basketball Journal||Second team|
|1997-98||Adia Barnes||The Sporting News||Honorable mention|
|2002-03||Shawntinice Polk||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2002-03||Shawntinice Polk||WBCA/Kodak||Honorable mention|
|2003-04||Shawntinice Polk||WBCA/Kodak||Honorable mention|
|2004-05||Dee-Dee Wheeler||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2004-05||Dee-Dee Wheeler||WBCA/Kodak||Honorable mention|
|2004-05||Shawntinice Polk||WBCA/Kodak||Honorable mention|
|2008-09||Ify Ibekwe||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2010-11||Ify Ibekwe||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2011-12||Davellyn Whyte||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2018-19||Aari McDonald||Associated Press||Honorable mention|
|2018-19||Aari McDonald||WBCA||Honorable mention|
|2019-20||Aari McDonald||Associated Press||Second team|
|2019-20||Aari McDonald||USBWA||Second team|
|2019-20||Aari McDonald||WBCA||First team|
McDonald finished off the season with a 34-point performance vs. Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, which is the most points any player scored at this year’s tournament. It is also the second time in her career she scored 34 against the Ducks in the Pac-12 tournament and is the school record for most points in a conference tournament game.
McDonald is sixth in Arizona history with 1,486 points in just two seasons as a Wildcat. Her 596 points this season is the fourth-most points any player has scored in one season in Arizona history. She holds the season-scoring record for women and men at Arizona with 890 last year. In her two years at Arizona, she is averaging 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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.