Just like the Arizona men’s team, the Arizona women’s basketball team has one more scholarship to play with this offseason, despite already signing three freshmen and a pair of transfers.
Unlike the men’s team, the women’s team is allowed to carry 15 scholarship players, two more than their male counterparts. While that sounds like a good thing, it’s generally too many for Adia Barnes’ liking.
“Ideally for me in a perfect world, I don’t want 15 players,” the UA coach said. “It’s just too many and like seven people aren’t happy. And I think you end up having more transfers.”
The Wildcats saw two little-used players transfer this offseason in Birna Benonysdottir and Bryce Nixon.
Arizona has never used its full allotment of scholarships under Barnes (sometimes they haven’t even been close), and the current economic climate caused by the coronavirus makes it even more understandable if they decide to pocket it and save money.
But Barnes wouldn’t rule out the possibility of adding another transfer this offseason.
“We’re getting good and we have an opportunity to add some really good players, like some really impactful players that help us win a championship, so I think if it’s a very, very good player, I would possibly take another one,” she said.
Barnes said any addition would likely be a guard or wing who can replace Aari McDonald or Sam Thomas when they graduate after the 2020-21 season. And it would be a transfer who “would start as a junior,” meaning an underclassman with multiple years of eligibility (and would likely have to sit out a year due to NCAA rules).
“Because most of the best fifth-years have already entered the portal,” Barnes said.
One player the Wildcats had been connected to is Minnesota transfer Destiny Pitts. The soon-to-be senior guard visited Arizona in January when the Wildcats completed their first sweep of ASU in 20 years.
However, the former All-Big Ten selection committed to Texas A&M on Saturday, a day after Barnes spoke to local media.
Before leaving Minnesota midseason because of “poor body language,” Pitts 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.
A look at Arizona’s 14 scholarship players
- Aari McDonald. G, Sr.
- Sam Thomas, F, Sr.
- Cate Reese, F, Jr.
- Shaina Pellington, G, Jr.
- Trinity Baptiste, F, Sr.
- Semaj Smith, C, Jr.
- Helena Pueyo, G, So.
- Mara Mote, G, So.
- Tara Manumaleuga, G, So.
- Sevval Gül, F, So.
- Marta Garcia, F, Fr.
- Derin Erdogan, G, Fr.
- Lauren Ware, F, Fr.
- Bendu Yeaney, G, RS Jr.