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Aari McDonald scores 31, drives Arizona over Texas A&M

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Arizona All-American guard Aari McDonald had a season-high 31 points and made six of the Wildcats’ season-best 13 shots from 3-point range in their 74-59 win Saturday over Texas A&M in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game at San Antonio.

Arizona (19-5) advanced to its first Elite Eight appearance in program history.

The third-seeded Wildcats will play No. 4 Indiana on Monday. The Hoosiers, who also are in their first Elite Eight, upset top seed North Carolina State 73-70 in their Sweet 16 game.

Arizona had only eight turnovers, three through the first three quarters, and outscored Texas A&M 28-2 in points off turnovers. The Aggies committed 19 turnovers.

McDonald made 12 of 21 shots from the field, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range.

Sam Thomas added nine points with all her shots from beyond the arc on 3-of-6 shooting.

Cate Reese, from nearby Cypress, Texas, had eight points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-2 post player made 2 of 4 shots from 3-point range.

Texas A&M (25-3) was led by Aaliyah Wilson’s 17 points, and Kayla Wells added 14.

McDonald had 19 points by halftime, including five in a 10-0 run, that gave Arizona a 27-19 lead with 5:49 left in the second quarter.

Texas A&M responded with an 11-3 run to tie the game at 30 with 2:37 remaining in the first half. Wilson and Wells each made shots in the lane in that run.

The Aggies, who had a size advantage with 6-foot-2 forward N’Dea Jones and 6-4 center Ciera Johnson, scored 22 of their 32 points in the paint in the first half. Texas A&M mustered only 12 points in the lane in the second half.

Arizona used its speed to its advantage scoring mostly in transition to take a 48-40 lead with 4:45 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats’ lead increased to 59-44 in the waning seconds of the quarter after Texas A&M went through a 1-of-6 stretch with seven turnovers.

McDonald fueled Arizona’s 56.3 percent shooting in the Wildcats’ pivotal third quarter making all three of her attempts, each from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media

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