Adia Barnes credited the 10,000-plus fans in McKale Center for helping them sweep ASU for the first time since 2000, and maybe the packed house will help in other ways too.
“We have a big recruit here right now,” Barnes said after Friday’s win. “So hopefully she loves it.”
The Arizona Wildcats hosted former Minnesota guard Destiny Pitts, per sources. Pitts announced her transfer from Minnesota last week after the Golden Gophers suspended her indefinitely for “poor body language.”
Before that, the junior was fifth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3. The 5-foot-11 Detroit native was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season.
It is unclear when Pitts will be eligible to play at her new school. She would likely have to sit out the entire 2020-21 season or at least the fall semester of next season unless she receives a waiver. Crazier things have happened, so nothing can be ruled out.
Barnes has said in that past that she will only recruit players that fit her team’s culture, but she also has shown a willingness to take on transfers who left their previous schools on not-so-good terms.
Last offseason, Arizona added former Oklahoma guard and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Shaina Pellington, whose former coach was critical of her effort in games and practices.
Pellington and McDonald are expected to form one of the top backcourts in the country next year. Throw Pitts into the mix and special things could be in store.
“We’re recruiting well,” Barnes said. “This (crowd) does matter. To be third in attendance in the Pac-12 and have a game like this, a regular season game … that speaks volumes about this city and basketball. How many women’s sports can draw fans like this? They don’t.
“I think it matters. Having players nationally see this kind of venue, people want to play in front of crowds. It’s more fun. I’ve done that. It’s scary at first but then it’s awesome. It just creates something special.”