During the NCAA Tournament, one of the top story lines was Arizona head coach Adia Barnes and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley—two women of color and former WNBA players—coaching their teams to the Final Four. The ties between the two coaches became even closer this week as Barnes was named an assistant coach on Staley’s staff for the USA Basketball AmeriCup team.
It was the second time this week that the two women were linked in the news. In 2015, former Purdue head coach Carolyn Peck had given Staley a piece of the net she cut down after leading the Boilermakers to the national title in 1999. After Barnes led the Wildcats to the 2021 title game, Staley said she would be giving part of her net from South Carolina’s 2017 national championship win to the Wildcats’ head coach.
Barnes joins former George Washington head coach Jen Rizzotti on Staley’s staff.
“Adia Barnes has quickly proven herself to be one of the top coaches in our country, and Jen brings a wealth of international experience to the staff. I’m also excited to be able to work with a younger group of athletes this summer,” Staley was quoted in the press release.
The AmeriCup team consists of current collegiate players. They will be chosen from a group of invitees who attend team trials April 18-21.
Those chosen will compete in a 10-team tournament held in Puerto Rico June 11-19. The teams come from North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
The top four finishers will advance to the 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments to play for a spot in the 2022 FIBA World Cup.
“I am incredibly honored to represent the United States and assist coach Dawn Staley and USA Basketball for the 2021 AmeriCup,” Barnes said in a statement. “This has been a basketball dream of mine and I can’t wait to represent my country. The opportunity to work alongside coach Staley and coach Rizzotti and the most talented basketball players in the world is an honor. I cannot wait to get in the gym with these athletes and represent USA Basketball with pride.”