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Arizona women’s basketball hires two assistant coaches, Aari McDonald invited to USA Pan-Am Trials

Busy week for the women’s program

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

It’s the offseason, but that doesn’t mean an end to important developments in the Arizona women’s basketball program. In addition to the signing of guard Helena Pueyo earlier in the week, the program had major announcements on Thursday and Friday.

Adia Barnes announces completion of her staff

One negative aspect of success is that other people want what you have. In college sports, that usually means they want your assistant coaches. After the biggest single-season turnaround in program history, Arizona women’s basketball experienced a raid on the coaching staff this spring with Morgan Valley getting a head coaching job at Hartford and April Phillips being hired away by conference foe California.

Barnes announced on Friday that those positions have been filled.

“Today I’m excited to welcome Tamisha Augustin and Jackie Nared to our Wildcat Family,” Barnes said in the University’s press release. “I fought hard to be able to hire these two high-character women that will bring value to our program. Tamisha and Jackie will create a dynamic coaching and recruiting duo and with these two by my side, there is no doubt we can compete with anyone.”

Augustin will fill the position of assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, which had been Phillips’ role. She did not coach last season, but was on the staff at Cincinnati in 2017-18, where she also held the position of recruiting coordinator. The year prior to that, she was on staff at Minnesota.

From 2014-16, Augustin was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UCF. She helped sign UCF’s 2016 class, which was ranked No. 1 by Dan Olson’s Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. She had previous stints at VCU, Marshall, and South Carolina State, as well as the Nike circuit and in high school basketball. Barnes noted Augustin’s national recruiting ties when speaking about the new hire’s qualifications for the position.

Nared and Barnes will reunite after serving on the Washington staff together during the 2015-16 season that ended with a run to the Final Four. Nared was the Director of Player Development for that team, while Barnes served as an assistant coach.

After two seasons with the Huskies, she served as the Director of Creativity and Video for Oregon, where she developed scouting film for a team that ended up in the Elite Eight. Last season, she was on the staff of Kamie Ethridge at Washington State. The Cougars upset Arizona behind the play of All-Pac-12 performers Borislava Hristova and Chanelle Molina.

Aari McDonald invited to U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team Trials

Arizona women’s basketball received another acknowledgement for a season that saw the program make a historic single-season turnaround and win the WNIT. Well, at least one member of the team did. USA Basketball invited point guard Aari McDonald to participate in trials for the 2019 Pan American team.

McDonald was one of 36 college players invited to the trials, which will be held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The group will compete from May 16-20 for 12 spots on the U.S. women’s team.

The 12 players who are selected will attend training camp from July 23-Aug. 5. They will then travel to Lima, Peru to take part in the Pan American Games’ women’s basketball tournament from Aug. 6-10.

McDonald was the third-leading scorer in NCAA Division I basketball last season with 24.1 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting. She will be the leading returning scorer in 2019-20. She added 6.5 rebounds (second on the team), 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Her 890 points in 2018-19 made her the single-season record holder for points scored at Arizona by either a woman or a man.

Her historic season got her noticed both in the conference and on the national stage. After being named the Pac-12 Player of the Week three times during the season, she ended the year on the All-Pac-12 team. Both the WBCA and the Associated Press named her to their 2019 All-American honorable mention lists. She also took home the MVP award for the 2019 Postseason WNIT after leading her team to the championship.

The 36 young women invited to trials are required to be U.S. citizens who are current student-athletes. They must also have college eligibility left for the 2019-20 season.

Including McDonald, the Pac-12 had seven athletes from six different schools invited to try out. That is the most of any conference. Oregon State was one of only three schools in the country who had two athletes invited.