Former Arizona forward Dominique McBryde, who helped lead the Wildcats to a program resurgence, will try to do the same for a group of younger players as she starts her coaching career. McBryde was announced as the graduate assistant for the Evansville Purple Aces on Thursday.
It’s a change for the widely traveled McBryde, who has been all over the world playing professional basketball since her career at Arizona ended after the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. It was a disappointing end for Wildcat fans, who didn’t get to see McBryde make a run to the Final Four with the team after she was integral to the turn-around that put the program on that path.
McBryde, Aari McDonald, and Tee Tee Starks were the trio of transfers who helped lead the program to the 2019 WNIT title. The Wildcats were set up for a big run in the NCAA Tournament the next season, but March Madness was canceled due to the pandemic. Unlike spring athletes, winter athletes were not allowed to return the following season if they were seniors that year. While McDonald was able to come back and Starks experienced the Final Four as a graduate assistant at Connecticut, it was over for McBryde.
The move to Indiana is also a change in McBryde’s lifestyle. After spending the past three years exploring the world, she gets to establish a base that’s close to home. She graduated from Bedford North Lawrence High School in Bedford, Ind. Bedford is just under two hours from her new digs in Evansville.
The turnaround McBryde was part of as a player should help her as she joins head coach Robyn Scherr-Wells’ staff. Scherr-Wells is entering her third season leading the Purple Aces. They have made small steps forward in each of her first two years.
The program went 6-18 the year before she arrived. That is similar to the 6-24 season Arizona had the year McBryde sat on the sidelines following her transfer from Purdue. Like Arizona, Evansville won two games in its conference that season.
The first year of Scherr-Wells’ tenure saw the program improve to 8-22 overall, although they were still 2-16 in conference play. Last year, the Aces won double-digit games for the first time since 2016-17 when they finished 11-19.
Scherr-Wells was excited by the new edition, tweeting that she was “pumped” to have McBryde on her staff.
The Purple Aces play in the Missouri Valley Conference, which has been one of the best mid-major leagues in recent years.