#6 Arizona Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Arizona Wildcats
Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
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The top of the women’s basketball rankings are usually littered with programs that make regular Final Four appearances. Arizona has never been to the Final Four. In fact, they have only reached the Sweet Sixteen once back in 1998 and they have not made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005. But Coach Adia Barnes is starting to turn the program around and now this is a group that has the potential to win what should be an exciting Pac-12 regular season race.
2019-20 Record: 24-7, 12-6
Coach: Adia Barnes
Coach Record: 68-60 at Arizona, 68-60 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Dominique McBryde, Forward, 6.9 ppg
Amari Carter, Guard, 5.6 ppg
Tara Manumaleuga, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Lucia Alonso, Guard, 2.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Aari McDonald, Senior, Guard, 20.6 ppg
Cate Reese, Junior, Forward, 13.6 ppg
Sam Thomas, Senior, Forward, 9.5 ppg
Helena Pueyo, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Semaj Smith, Junior, Center, 3.3 ppg
Mara Mote, Sophomore, Guard, 1.6 ppg
Key New Players
Trinity Baptiste, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Virginia Tech
Derin Erdogan, Freshman, Guard
Marta Garcia, Freshman, Forward
Lakin Gardner, Freshman, Guard
Shaina Pellington, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Oklahoma
Lauren Ware, Freshman, Forward
Bendu Yeaney, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Indiana
Much of the high expectations are due to senior Aari McDonald. She is a big time scorer and averaged 20.6 points per game. McDonald is a capable outside shooter, but she is extremely efficient when attacking the basket. As if all of that scoring is not enough, McDonald also averaged 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.3 steals. Cate Reese and Sam Thomas were second and third on the team in scoring last season and are also experienced upperclassmen. Reese is the interior scorer and best rebounder on the team, while Thomas can stretch the defense with her outside shooting. Helena Pueyo had a very promising freshman campaign and should emerge as a dangerous all-around scoring threat sooner or later. The backcourt also brings in a trio of experienced transfers. Trinity Baptiste comes from Virginia Tech and the versatile forward will at least help Arizona in the rebounding department. Bendu Yeaney was a regular starter at Indiana and will add yet another defensive stalwart to the Pac-12’s best scoring defense. With Baptiste and Yeaney taking away the headlines, many have overlooked Shaina Pellington. She sat out last season after transferring in from Oklahoma where she was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (93rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.6 (24, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (31, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.1 (51, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (90, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (45, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.9 (12, 2)
Rebound Margin: -0.7 (199, 9)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (121, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (39, 3)
Madness 2021 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Aari McDonald
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#17 Lauren Ware