On Saturday, Arizona head coach Adia Barnes made one of her “today is a good day” posts on Twitter. Over the next two days, Wildcat fans have discovered why.
Arizona has already added guard Courtney Blakely from Middle Tennessee State. Now, there are two more transfers in the fold.
Arizona received commitments from two forwards, Sali Kourouma from Arkansas-Little Rock and Isis Beh from West Virginia. Both took similar winding roads through college basketball that have led them to Tucson.
Kourouma spent two years at Grayson College in Denison, Tex. but only played for one season while redshirting the other one. Her one season was a great one, though.
The native of Kati, Mali was the conference Newcomer of the Year and first team all-conference for the NJCAA Division I program in 2020-21. She had a double-double in 15 of the team’s 23 games.
She spent the last two seasons at Little Rock where she repeated her success. In her two seasons there, Kourouma averaged 17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 29.4 minutes per game.
The 5-foot-11 forward was All-Sunbelt second team in 2021-22. The next season, the school moved to the Ohio Valley Conference where she was the 2022-23 Conference Player of the Year. She helped her team to a 21-11 record including 17-1 in conference play. They were upset in the OVC tournament championship game by third-seeded Tennessee Tech before losing their first game in the WNIT to SMU.
Kourouma will be joined by another forward who has spent some time on the juco circuit. Beh is a native of the Western U.S., hailing from Murray, Utah.
The 6-foot-3 forward started her career at UNLV in 2019-20, making the Moutain West All-Freshman squad. The next season, she transferred to Salt Lake City College but suffered a fractured femur that kept her from playing. Upon transferring to West Virginia in 2021-22, she was still trying to recover from the injury and redshirted for the second consecutive season.
This season, she was crucial in big wins against then-No. 21 Iowa State and Kansas that helped the Mountaineers make their way to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Arizona in the first round. She played 22 minutes against the Wildcats, going 4 for 4 from the field for eight points. She also had one block and one steal.
Over the course of the season, Beh averaged just 10.1 minutes per game, scoring 3.1 points and grabbing 2.1 rebounds. She shot 52.2 percent from the field.
Beh will join former West Virginia teammate Esmery Martinez in Arizona’s frontcourt next season. The trio of transfers now give the Wildcats nine players on the roster next season, but that won’t be the end of it according to Barnes.
The future is bright!! We are just getting started.— ADIA BARNES COPPA (@AdiaBarnes) April 11, 2023