Aari McDonald was selected by the Atlanta Dream as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, capping off the most successful career in Arizona women’s basketball history.
McDonald becomes the first Wildcat ever selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft.
"With the third pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft...the Atlanta Dream select Aari McDonald, University of Arizona."— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) April 15, 2021
Such an awesome moment. pic.twitter.com/Dlh3X96ZDn
A 5-foot-6 point guard, McDonald raised her draft stock in recent weeks by leading Arizona to its first ever Final Four appearance. She averaged 24.8 points across Arizona’s six NCAA Tournament games, including a 26-point outing against UConn in the national semifinal.
McDonald entered her final year at Arizona as one of the top players in women’s basketball. Though her shooting fluctuated throughout the regular season, McDonald maintained the nation’s longest active streak of double figures in scoring, which reached 87 games entering the NCAA Tournament.
March Madness brought out the best performances of McDonald’s career. Facing No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the Sweet 16, McDonald scored 31 points on a season-high six made 3-pointers. She followed that up with 33 points against Indiana in the Elite Eight to lead the Wildcats to their first ever Final Four.
In the national semifinal, she matched up against UConn’s Paige Bueckers, the AP Player of the Year, and mostly outplayed the freshman phenom. McDonald hit four 3-pointers against the Huskies and delivered clutch free throws to clinch the biggest win in Arizona program history.
McDonald’s college career concluded with a 22-point outing against Stanford in the national title game, where she was held to 5-20 shooting. Down one with the championship on the line, McDonald was triple-teamed by the Cardinal, managed to get a shot off from the top of the arc but missed, handing Stanford the title.
Doubted all her life for being undersized, McDonald overcame her height disadvantage by developing elite quickness and a constantly improving jump shot. McDonald’s defense sets her apart from other point guards – she prides herself on guarding the opponent’s best scorer.
McDonald gives the Dream the advantage of a skillful point guard with unmatchable heart and hustle.