Aari McDonald’s brilliance not enough as Arizona falls to Stanford in NCAA title game

Aari McDonald and Arizona’s run at history fell just short against Stanford in the NCAA Women’s Tournament on Sunday.

Or, rather, just a hair too far.

The 3-seed Wildcats forced a shot clock violation on 1-seed Stanford’s final possession of the national championship game, giving the upstart Wildcats — who had lost to the Cardinal twice previously this season — a chance to win on the final possession of the game. And there was no player whom Arizona coach Adia Barnes wanted to have the ball more than McDonald, who had a game-high 22 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

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McDonald took the inbounds pass with her team down 54-53 and 6.1 seconds remaining on the clock. She quickly found herself swarmed by four Stanford defenders and unable to pass the ball to her teammates. Even still, she got a chance to put up a fadeaway, buzzer-beating 3-pointer:


McDonald should feel no shame, though. She put up Most Outstanding Player numbers during the tournament: 22 points against Stanford, 26 points vs. UConn, 33 points vs. Indiana and 31 points vs. Texas A&M. The way in which Arizona lost is obviously disheartening, but McDonald seemed to take it in stride when talking to reporters postgame:

“What I’ll remember most is this ride. We had a great run in this NCAA Tournament,” she said (via USA Today’s Nancy Armour). “We accomplished a lot that many didn’t think we could do.”

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