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Arizona women’s basketball season review: Amari Carter

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 28 Women’s Stanford at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats never got to complete their historic 2019-20 season. After setting one record after another and securing what was sure to be a chance to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the team saw its drive for a special ending to the year stopped in its tracks when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sports world in mid-March.

While we’ll never know what this team could have accomplished in the NCAA Tournament, a full regular season and conference tournament worth of competition is more than enough to assess each individual player’s performance.

Amari Carter

  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 5-foot-8
  • Position: Guard
  • 2019-20 statistics: 25.0 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 34.4 FG%, 30.6 3FG%, 79.3 FT%, 31 GP, 31 GS

Season breakdown

The Washington, D.C. native came to Arizona as a graduate transfer from Penn State and started all 31 games for the Wildcats.

Her time with the Nittany Lions was productive, but a coaching change is always a good time to look around and PSU changed staffs after her final year there. She ended up in the top 20 for career assists (317) , 3-pointers made (113) and games started (90) in just three years on the court.

At Arizona, Carter surpassed 1,000 points in her college career on Dec. 21 when the Wildcats faced UC Santa Barbara, but she wasn’t a major scoring threat for most of the season.

Although she started every one of the team’s 31 games, she played limited minutes in several games early on primarily to save her legs. Carter missed her senior year in high school and her true freshman year at Penn State due to injury and wore a brace all season.

It might have taken her a while to make her mark on the offensive end, but Carter would go on to lead the Wildcats in 3-point shooting during Pac-12 play. She hit 41 percent of her 42 shots from distance over those 18 games.

Best stretch of play

As with several other players, Carter lifted her game when Aari McDonald got injured down the stretch. She scored in double figures four times in the team’s last eight games, although she didn’t get on the board in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal against Oregon.

The stretch of play started against Washington on Valentine’s Day. Carter would go 20 for 55 over those eight contests with her best games coming against the Huskies, versus Washington State, at Colorado, in both California games and in the big upset of Stanford. She was a lights-out 10 for 12 from distance over that stretch.

Worst stretch of play

It took Carter a while to get into the offensive groove with her new team. Over the first 14 games of the season, she didn’t score in double digits at all. She had games where she got close—opening the Pac-12 season at ASU with eight points in the victory and getting eight again in the blow-out loss at UCLA—but in seven of those first 14 games she scored three or fewer points.

Quotable

Before the season, Adia Barnes told the Arizona Daily Star: “She can shoot the 3 very well and is extremely athletic. She can create and is a good shooter. I heard she was good for our culture and a good teammate, and she has experience which is what we need from a transfer — all things I knew would make us better as a team.”