Arizona Wildcats

Aari McDonald Named a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Finalist

(Tucson, AZ)   All-American Aari McDonald was named one of the four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award on Monday morning, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. McDonald joins Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Didi Richards (Baylor) and Kylee Shook (Louisville) as the group of four who were deemed the top defenders in the country.

McDonald, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month, led the conference in steals per game at 2.3 for the second season in a row. She has also led the Pac-12 in scoring two seasons in a row becoming the first player in conference history to lead the Pac-12 in steals and scoring twice.

The Fresno, Calif. native had at least three steals in 11 games this season and had at least one in 27 of her 29 games played. Her season-high came on Feb. 2 vs. USC as she had six steals to go along with 20  points and eight assists.

She helped Arizona become one of the top defensive teams in the nation as she was routinely at the frontline of the unit that held teams to 56.6 points per game, the best in the Pac-12 and 17.97 forced turnovers per game, the third-most in the conference.

McDonald is also a finalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and the Wooden Award, and was also named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press last week.

The winner of the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award will be announced on April 1.

Press Release courtesy of Arizona Communication Services

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