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Atlanta Dream select Arizona’s Aari McDonald No. 3 overall in WNBA Draft

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Aari McDonald #2 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after defeating the UConn Huskies during the third quarter in the Final Four semifinal game of the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome on April 02, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Former Arizona Wildcats guard Aari McDonald was taken with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Dream in the 2021 WNBA Draft on Thursday night.

McDonald joins the Dream after leading the Wildcats all the way to the national championship game, their deepest run in program history. A year ago, McDonald wasn’t sure if she would be returning to the Wildcats but is glad she decided to play another year.

“Reflecting back, this was worth it,” McDonald said in a press conference on Tuesday. “It was worth it … to have grown as a person and a leader. … I’ve grown as a player. I’m excited that I came back.”

McDonald averaged 28 points per game from the Sweet 16 on. While McDonald made history during this year’s tournament, she was also breaking records way before the Wildcats tournament run.

In 2018-19 McDonald scored 890 points, shattering now Wildcats head coach Adia Barnes’ record of 653, which was set back in 1997-98. McDonald joined Barnes as the only other Wildcats player in program history to score over 600 points in a season.

After the single-season record, McDonald broke the Wildcats’ single-game scoring mark at the start of the 2019-20 season. McDonald dropped 44 points on Nov. 17, 2019, in a blowout victory over the Texas Longhorns.

McDonald sits second among the Wildcats’ scoring ranks with 2,067 points, trailing only Barnes (2,237).

McDonald finished her career as the ninth highest scorer in Pac-12 history with 2,314 points. McDonald played her freshman year for the Washington Huskies and transferred to play for the Wildcats after her lone season in Seattle.

McDonald was also named the 2021 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. She won Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 as well and was named All Pac-12 in 2019, 2020 and 2021.