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Arizona’s Aari McDonald named second-team AP All-American again

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-UCLA vs Arizona Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight season, Aari McDonald was the Pac-12 leader in both scoring and steals. An all-around player who did not take a possession off on either end of the floor became the only player to ever do that three years in a row. It garnered her second-team All-American honors as the AP voters stacked the first team with players from the eastern half of the country.

McDonald made the second team for the second straight year after being honorable mention her sophomore year. She is the first Arizona player to make one of the AP lists three years in a row.

She was the first player to win both Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season since Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike. Ogwumike accomplished the feat two years in a row, taking all four awards in 2013 and 2014.

The senior point guard became Arizona’s second conference Player of the Year, following head coach Adia Barnes, who won the award in 1998. She did it by scoring 19.3 points per game, but her contributions went far beyond scoring.

McDonald grabbed 5.1 rebounds per game, a feat accomplished despite being 5-foot-6. She set up her teammates with 4.7 assists per game. She stole the ball 2.7 times per game as well as playing strong position defense.

Most importantly, she rose to the occasion when she was needed. She went into the second half of several games with few points as she concentrated on setting up her teammates. She still managed to put up double digits every single game of her Arizona career. That adds up to 87 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation and the longest in the Pac-12 this century.

No Pac-12 players made the first team which consisted of Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers, Louisville’s Dana Evans, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith and Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard. Both Pac-12 players who were part of the preseason AP All-America team were dropped with UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere landing on third team.