Arizona freshman Madison Conner is only two months into her career with the Wildcats after starting the season at Chandler AZ Compass Prep and she is making noteworthy strides.
The program announced today via twitter that Conner has earned the yellow jersey given to the weekly top practice player.
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 8, 2021
Conner, known for her deft outside shooting, made her first 3-point attempt with the Wildcats last week in the Pac-12 tournament against Washington State in a quarterfinal win.
“If you would have seen Madi in practice the last couple days, she was just doing that,” Adia Barnes said about the made 3-pointer of which Conner showed a perfect shooting form and release. “I mean, killing it the last couple of days. She’s still learning our system. She’s still has a ways to go but she wants it.
“She’s hungry. She puts in the work. She’s a gym rat.”
Conner has played in five games at Arizona and has tried six shots, all from 3-point range, with the one conversion against Washington State.
She played a season-high nine minutes in the loss against UCLA in the Pac-12 semifinals.
Barnes believes it’s only a matter of time before Conner gets in her shooting groove in a game.
“She’s a shooter. She’ll bring us more offense,” Barnes said. “On the perimeter, you have to guard her. So I’m impressed with the way she played.”
Arizona became the third team in program history to be ranked in the AP Top 25 poll the whole regular season.
The two previous teams were in 1999-2000 and 1997-98.
Arizona was ranked No. 11 in this week’s poll, staying the same as last week despite losing in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA. Being at No. 11 is the lowest ranking of the season and the Wildcats are averaging a rank of No. 9.
The 1997-98 team had the previous best for the lowest ranking at No. 15 and average ranking of No. 10.
Barnes, a senior in 1997-98, has played for and now coached the two best teams in Arizona history when factoring the AP Top 25 rankings.
Arizona Women's Hoops AP Top 25 Rankings HistoryDetails the seasons, number of appearances in a season, the highest and lowest rankings of that season and the average ranking of that season.
Arizona: Vote for McDonald!
Arizona is campaigning for senior All-American guard Aari McDonald to be voted as the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year.
Fans can vote by clicking here.
🚨CALLING ALL FANS🚨
We need you to VOTE for @AariMcdonald for the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award‼️
You know what to do.
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 5, 2021
McDonald was selected the Pac-12 Player of the Year last week and is a shoo-in to be a two-time All-American.
She was recognized for another national award on Saturday by being named to the Wooden Award National Ballot. She is one of three Pac-12 players on the ballot, joining Stanford’s Haley Jones and Kiana Williams.
McDonald 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 averaging 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
In addition to the Lieberman Point Guard of the Year award, McDonald is in contention for the Naismith Player of the Year and Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. She is on the Wade Trophy Watch List.
McDonald was named the Pac-12’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year. She earned this honor for the second straight season.
She became Arizona’s first conference player of the year since Barnes in 1998.
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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.