Some are going, but the player Adia Barnes called her most important recruit is not. Helena Pueyo announced on Friday that she will return for her fifth season with Arizona women’s basketball.
Thrilled to announce the return of @Helena_Pueyo6 !! #MadeForIt x #LeaveALegacy pic.twitter.com/ld8qYOLHpg— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 24, 2023
In a post that resembles the ones she makes when someone commits, Barnes hinted at the news on Thursday morning. It fit with the comments she made all year about how Pueyo was her most important recruit for next season.
Today is a great day! ⬇️— ADIA BARNES COPPA (@AdiaBarnes) March 23, 2023
There were questions about whether Pueyo would return to Arizona for the fifth year granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic. Barnes and Pueyo both discussed how Pueyo was looking into professional opportunities overseas. Ultimately, it was not enough to pull the team captain away from the program.
Pueyo played every position from the one to the four last season, averaging more minutes than some of the starters at 25.1 mpg. She shot a career-high 50.8 percent from the floor, a career-low 31.4 percent from 3, had 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the 2022-23 season. She was also in the 92nd percentile in Division I in blocks.
In several other reports, word that senior guard Lauren Fields has entered her name into the transfer portal was also out on Friday morning. Barnes often praised Fields for her defense, but beyond some big shots in games against UCLA and Maryland, she struggled on the offensive end of the court.
Fields shot just 28.1 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from 3-point range, and 44.8 percent from the free throw line. Aside from the free throw numbers, those were not significantly different from her final season at Oklahoma State when she shot 32.9 percent from the field, 28.4 percent from 3-point range, and 63 percent from the line. Her field goal attempts fell from 15.7 per game at OSU to 5.2 at Arizona.
It would be Fields’ second transfer in as many years after she arrived from OSU last year. Whether she would have to sit out a year, apply for waiver to play immediately, or qualify as a graduate transfer is unclear. She did not take part in senior day activities. The NCAA made the waiver process for second-time transfers more stringent earlier this season.