Arizona women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes and Team USA took home the gold medal at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup on Saturday, routing Puerto Rico 74-59 in San Juan.
It capped a dominant run by the Americans, who went 6-0 and won every game by double figures, taking down the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Brazil and Puerto Rico (again).
The Americup is seen as one of the most important basketball events in the Americas because it is the first step toward qualifying for the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia. Nine countries participated.
Barnes was an assistant coach for Team USA alongside South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and former George Washington head coach Jen Rizzotti, two legends of the sport. The American roster mostly consisted of current college players, but there was no age limit in this event.
“This has been a basketball dream of mine and I can’t wait to represent my country,” Barnes said before the AmeriCup. “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.”
Arizona was also represented by Shaina Pellington, who was a key producer for Canada. The redshirt junior guard finished second on the team in scoring (12.5 points), second in assists (2.5) and first in steals (1.5) despite only averaging 20.5 minutes. She also shot 51 percent from the field, 4 for 8 from 3, and 74 percent from the free-throw line.
Pellington had 21 points, four assists and four steals in just 22 minutes in a win over El Salvador.
Canada reached the semifinals but fell to Brazil in the third-place game. Pellington had 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block on 5-of-13 shooting.
She’s one of the main players Arizona is leaning on to replace Aari McDonald, so her performance in San Juan is encouraging.
An uber-athletic combo guard, Pellington averaged 5.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.6 steals on 39.5 percent shooting in 2020-21, her first season with the Cats after transferring in from Oklahoma.