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Arizona’s Adia Barnes says being Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalist is ‘huge honor’

arizona-wildcats-adia-barnes-womens-college-basketball-naismith-award-national-2021-aari-mcdonald Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The national accolades aren’t just reserved for Aari McDonald, Adia Barnes is getting some much-deserved love as well.

The Arizona women’s basketball coach is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award. She and Stanford’s Tara VanDerVeer are the only Pac-12 coaches on the list.

Barnes, in her fifth season coaching her alma mater, has led Arizona to at 15-4 overall record and 13-4 Pac-12 mark. The Wildcats finished second in the conference, their best showing since 2003-04, and they have been ranked in the Associated Press poll for a school-record 32 consecutive weeks.

This is Barnes’ second consecutive year being a Naismith semifinalist, something she believes is more a reflection of how far the Wildcats have come than of her own achievements.

“I think it’s just a huge honor, just the hard work this program has put in,” Barnes said. “People recognize the program, I think that’s one of the biggest things, and recognize the transformation of this program.”

McDonald, who led the Pac-12 in scoring and steals for the third year in a row, was named Conference Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year on Monday. The only other UA player to be POY in the Pac-10/12 is Barnes. McDonals is also a finalist for the Naismith and Lieberman national awards.

Currently ranked 11th, Arizona is set to face either Utah or Washington in Thursday’s Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals in Las Vegas.