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Arizona women’s basketball recruiting: Wildcats land 5-star forward Cate Reese

Reese is the highest-ranked recruit the women’s program has ever landed

Cate Reese is highest-ranked recruit Arizona women’s basketball has ever landed
Photo via @cate_reese on Twitter

Arizona women’s basketball has landed 2018 five-star recruit Cate Reese, the 6-foot-2 forward announced Sunday on Twitter.

Reese, the No. 12 recruit in the country and No. 3 forward in her class, is the highest-ranked player to ever commit to Arizona.

The Cypress, Texas native was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on April 4, 2016, but averaged 22.3 points and 13.2 rebounds this past season at Cypress Woods High School, and made first-team all-state.

"It's made me see life through a different perspective," Reese told ESPN of her diagnosis. "You only get one life to live. I'm grateful I can still play. I'm still here."

Reese drew interest from several schools, including Colorado, Washington, SMU, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, Rice, South Carolina, Texas A&M, George Washington, and Arizona.

Her addition is significant for UA women’s basketball, which just completed its first season with Adia Barnes at the helm and has regularly been one of the smallest teams in the Pac-12.

The Wildcats finished 14-16 (5-13 in the Pac-12) in 2016-17 but had five seniors on their roster (and only graduated one the year before Barnes took over), so 2017-18 is seen as the first year of a rebuild.

Arizona signed five recruits in its 2017 class, and added two transfers (one of whom is a graduate transfer), so there will be plenty of roster turnover in the next couple seasons, with Reese presumably being the team’s centerpiece starting in 2018-19.

"She's a bulldog," said Joey Simmons, Reese’s AAU coach. "She plays as hard as anybody I've coached. If the ball is loose, she is diving at it, jumping for it, pushing, shoving -- anything it takes. She never stops the whole game. She's a special player when it comes to being relentless."

Arizona has not had a winning season since 2010-11 and has finished 10th or lower in the Pac-12 standings every year since then.

The hiring of Barnes, a UA alumna and the program’s all-time leading scorer, was an attempt to jump start the struggling program and the results have been promising so far, with Reese’s commitment being the highlight.

Check out ESPNW’s piece for more info on Reese.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire