Arizona's McDonald to return for senior season

By JOHN MARSHALL

AP Basketball Writer

Arizona guard Aari McDonald will return for her senior season, bypassing a chance to leave early for the WNBA.

"I am already counting down the days until I can get back on the court with my teammates and I can't wait to play one more season in front of the best fans in the country," she posted on Twitter Sunday. "Stay tuned because the best is yet to come."

A 5-foot-6 guard, McDonald had an immediate impact after transferring from Washington and sitting out a year, finishing third nationally with 24.1 points as a sophomore in 2018-19. She also broke current Wildcats' coach Adia Barnes' season scoring record with 890 points and was named an honorable mention All-American by The Associated Press.

Arizona had a more balanced team this season, but McDonald still scored 20.5 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

The Wildcats had one of the best seasons in program history, winning 24 games while climbing to no. 11 in the AP Top 25, their highest ranking since 1998.

Arizona was poised to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years and likely would have hosted first-round games before the coronavirus outbreak wiped out the season. The Wildcats were No. 12 in the final AP poll and McDonald was named a second-team All-American.

McDonald was projected to be a first-round WNBA pick, but with the uncertainty of the league and basketball overseas - where women's players make more money - she opted to return to Tucson.

"I do think it's the best thing for her to come back," Barnes said last week, before McDonald made her decision. "We don't know what's happening in the WNBA, the NBA is postponed and right now it's a disaster in Europe because the economy is shot. There's no money there because of the economy, so it doesn't make sense to go over there if you don't have to because of the situation. I think her stock will only go up."

Updated March 29, 2020