Arizona women’s basketball has already extracted three players from the transfer portal this offseason, but they aren’t done yet.
Head coach Adia Barnes said the Wildcats are “very close” to adding one more and she dropped a heavy hint as to who it might be: “There’s a really good point guard out there that’s available and it’s someone I’m pursuing very heavily. I think we have a really really good relationship with, so I’m really gonna try really hard to get her. I think she’d be incredible in our system and I’m pursuing her as best as I can.”
The most obvious candidate is USC’s Endyia Rogers. The sophomore made the all-conference team after leading USC in points (14.4), rebounds (4.4) and assists (4.3) per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3.
Arizona recently hired former USC assistant coach Erin Grant, and Rogers retweeted Arizona’s tweet that welcomed Grant to the program.
The Wildcats have to replace All-American point guard Aari McDonald and could use more experience at that position. Returners Shaina Pellington and Helena Pueyo have only played point guard in spurts at Arizona. And while UA already added Oregon transfer Taylor Chavez—a 3-point marksman—to help fill that void, she has mostly played off the ball in her college career.
“I think one more point guard would be great because Taylor can play the 1, 2 or 3, Anna Gret (Asi) could play a little bit at the 1, but doesn’t really want to,” Barnes said. “Great teams have three options for point guards. In our system, two point guards can play together. So Taylor can play with the new person or Taylor and Shaina can play together.”
If Arizona does, indeed, add another transfer they will have 16 scholarship players, the most they have ever had under Barnes. 15 is usually the NCAA maximum, but the Wildcats are able to exceed that because Sam Thomas, a returning senior, doesn’t count toward the total.
Barnes said having 13 scholarship players is usually the “magic number” because keeping 15 players happy is difficult, especially since all of them will be eligible to play immediately. She doesn’t seem too worried about her unusually large roster.
“Yeah it is (difficult), but I think where we’re at and what we have a chance to do, I think we can be very special, and I think we compete at the highest level,” Barnes said. “And I think just because of the way our personnel is working out, it’s just gonna be very competitive. But I think that’s a good problem. I think when you’re building a championship team, you’re going to have to compete and they should be deep at every position.”
Asked Adia Barnes about Arizona adding another transfer and she said, "there's a really good point guard out there that's available and it's someone I'm pursuing very heavily." pic.twitter.com/AplaWqG3MT— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 5, 2021