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Arizona women’s basketball: Wildcats add Washington transfer Aarion McDonald

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The 5-foot-7 point guard was a member of the Pac-12 All-Freshman team

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oklahoma City Regional-Mississippi State vs Washington Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona women’s basketball team added yet another player on Thursday, landing Washington transfer Aarion McDonald.

The 5-foot-7 freshman point guard was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team this season after averaging 9.8 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3.

McDonald was UW’s third-leading scorer and scored 16 points against Arizona when Washington routed the Wildcats in McKale Center.

She will have to sit out the 2017-18 season before having three seasons of eligibility at Arizona, per NCAA transfer rules.

"Aari is a proven winner," Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said in a statement. "She will impact us immediately both on and off the court. Not only is she a special player, she is also a special person. Aari will add to the championship culture that we've begun to establish here at Arizona."

Barnes, who was an assistant coach at Washington before taking over as UA’s head coach prior to the 2016-17 season, likely recruited McDonald out of high school.

McDonald, out of Brookside Christian, was the No. 51 player in the country and the seventh-ranked point guard by ProspectsNation.com.

The Fresno, Calif. native played in 28 games at UW, starting in 21 of them. She missed the first seven games of the season with a back injury.

Washington lost its head coach, Mike Neighbors, to Arkansas, likely leading to McDonald’s decision to leave the program.

"I want to thank the University of Arizona for the opportunity to represent the school and the women's basketball program," McDonald said. "I'm very grateful to continue my education at Arizona and to be a part of something special."

The talent is piling up

It has been quite the offseason for Barnes who is in the midst of rebuilding the Arizona women’s basketball program.

In June alone, she has landed four high-caliber players, including McDonald. Here’s a brief look at the other three (click their names for a more in-depth look).

Cate Reese — 2018 5-star forward from Cypress, Texas

  • No. 12 player in her class.
  • Highest-ranked recruit Arizona has ever landed

Valeria Trucco — 2018 5-star forward from Italy

  • No. 1 post player in Europe

Dominique McBryde — 6-foot-2 sophomore transfer from Purdue

  • All-Big Ten honorable mention
  • Will sit out the 2017-18 season, due to NCAA transfer rules

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire