Arizona Women's Basketball

Barnes motivated to make Arizona women’s hoops popular draw for once in Tucson


[rps-paypal]

“Are we going to get 14,000 (fans at McKale Center) the first year? Probably not. But am I going to work for it? Heck yeah. I’m competitive … This community wants to have a successful women’s program and they will support it. The bottom line is you win more, you get more fans. So, that’s the reality.”

— First-year Arizona coach Adia Barnes, a former Wildcat standout

The Arizona women’s basketball program staged its media day Monday. The following are quotes from first-year coach Adia Barnes:

ARIZONA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
2016-17 REGULAR SEASON

NOV 8 (TUE) 7:00 PM
VS WESTERN NEW MEXICO (EXHIBITION)
TUCSON, ARIZ.

NOV 13 (SUN) 2:00 PM
VS ALCORN STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

NOV 18 (FRI) 5:00 PM
AT GEORGE MASON
FAIRFAX, VA.

NOV 22 (TUE) 11:00 AM
VS NORTH TEXAS
TUCSON, ARIZ.

NOV 26 (SAT) 2:00 PM
AT SOUTHERN UTAH
CEDAR CITY, UTAH

DEC 1 (THU) 7:00 PM
VS FLORIDA ATLANTIC
TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEC 4 (SUN) 1:00 PM
AT NEW MEXICO STATE
LAS CRUCES, N.M.

DEC 7 (WED) 7:00 PM
VS SAN DIEGO
TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEC 13 (TUE) 7:00 PM
VS GRAMBLING STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEC 17 (SAT) 11:00 AM
AT KANSAS
LAWRENCE, KAN.

DEC 21 (WED) 6:00 PM
VS UTAH STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEC 27 (TUE) 7:00 PM
VS PORTLAND STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEC 29 (THU) 7:00 PM
VS CALIFORNIA
TUCSON, ARIZ.

JAN 1 (SUN) 2:00 PM
VS STANFORD
TUCSON, ARIZ.

JAN 6 (FRI) 8:00 PM
AT COLORADO
BOULDER, COLO.

JAN 8 (SUN) 12:00 PM
AT UTAH
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

JAN 13 (FRI) 7:00 PM
VS WASHINGTON
TUCSON, ARIZ.

JAN 15 (SUN) 12:00 PM
VS WASHINGTON STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

JAN 20 (FRI) 8:00 PM
AT STANFORD
STANFORD, CALIF.

JAN 22 (SUN) 2:00 PM
AT CALIFORNIA
BERKELEY, CALIF.

JAN 27 (FRI) 8:00 PM
AT USC
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

JAN 29 (SUN) 3:00 PM
AT UCLA
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

FEB 3 (FRI) 6:00 PM
VS OREGON
TUCSON, ARIZ.

FEB 5 (SUN) 2:00 PM
VS OREGON STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

FEB 10 (FRI) 9:00 PM
AT WASHINGTON
SEATTLE, WASH.

FEB 12 (SUN) 12:00 PM
AT WASHINGTON STATE
PULLMAN, WASH.

FEB 17 (FRI) 7:00 PM
VS ARIZONA STATE
TUCSON, ARIZ.

FEB 19 (SUN) 4:00 PM
AT ARIZONA STATE
TEMPE, ARIZ.

FEB 24 (FRI) 6:00 PM
VS UCLA
TUCSON, ARIZ.

FEB 26 (SUN) 2:00 PM
VS USC
TUCSON, ARIZ.

On practices

“We’ve been doing really well. It was great to have some time with them over the summer. They are excited and feeling a lot more confident. We have a system now of ranking practice, so that has been a way to keep the level high at every single practice.”

On team chemistry

“I’ve been noticing things off the court. From when I first walked in to our first off-the-court event, to see where we are now has been the biggest change. On the court I have been really excited. I told them when I was a player I know how that first practice feels, I know it’s a lot of adrenaline and nerves and to just take a deep breath. They all make a joke about how much offense they are working on now because we worked on defense so much earlier. I think we are all having a lot of fun. Team chemistry is not a one-day ropes course, it is an everyday thing. I noticed this when we were eating at Bear Down Kitchen together. The first day that I went there no one was really speaking together. To see where we are now, we are all talking and interacting and it is great to see. So yeah, there has been great progress there over the last two months. They just enjoy being around each other.”

On communication

“Communication, verbal and nonverbal, has been something that I really emphasize. Nonverbal body language is very important. Verbal is too, but I pointed this out at dinner at my house the other day, touching each other, high fives, hugs, it is the little things you do to celebrate when something good happens that are really important to a successful team.”

On freshman guard Bria Rice, a recruit who followed Barnes from Seattle

“I have known Bria since she was in seventh grade in Seattle. She used to come to Storm camps when I was in Seattle so I have a long relationship with her and her family. Bria went through a very difficult thing. It is hard going through any type of transition, especially a coaching change. Bria is a great addition to the team, she is a great culture fit, great person and student, she is a tenacious defender and someone that you want to go to war with. She is a straight-A student so I don’t really need to worry about her off the court.”

On recruiting Arizona

“You always take care of your backyard first, so we have a different recruiting philosophy. We have our footprint, so you always recruit the best kids in your state no matter what. You have to support and recruit the kids here. No doubt, there is some talent and in the ’18 class in particular there is a lot of talent in Arizona. It is tough because a lot of kids want to get out of Arizona to have different weather or a different experience so it is hard. The other thing that you have to do is realize that we are five-six hours away from California. You have got to be able to recruit California, then you can go into Texas and some other places. To me, you have to recruit in your area and you have to recruit in the places you have connections. Washington is not that close, but I have connections and good relationships so I will continue to recruit there. We will also recruit internationally. We will go out and recruit from Italy, France and Australia and those are from connections. We are having a lot of kids in-state on campus. People are excited about the program and that’s what I like. We are getting some momentum and we have to capitalize on that.”

On getting the outside community more involved with the program

“All summer we had 120 community service hours. One of the first steps I took was implementing two days a week to go out into the community. I want to send the kids to what they are passionate about. If you love the Boys and Girls club, we went there, if you love the humane society we went there. So I started with that because I know it is important. We also had bowling with the cats, we had some radio shows, we are having a barbecue and we are trying just different things to create relationships. I learned that relationships are important as a WNBA player, and they are the best at marketing off of a small budget.”

On the most memorable moment of the summer

“Our team retreat was very memorable. I surprised them, I told the players that we were going on a five-mile hike and at the time it was like 105 degrees. We were driving up and they were saying ‘coach it is 100 degrees, how are we going to go hiking?’ I told them that they were tough and they would be fine. We got up to the top of the hill and there was zip lining and they were so excited. I was trying to do something different and that would get their attention. It was team building, but fun. After the zip-lining we had a bungee course where all the players had to help each other up and you had to lift the other player up the bungee cord. After that, not only had I told them we were going hiking in the mountains in 100 degree weather, but I told them that we were going to sleep in tents. Most of my players have never been camping, so on the schedule I put a picture of a bobcat and an old school tent. They all had group texts talking about how scared they were and had their bug spray and sleeping bags. We drove up to a big, three story cabin and it was really awesome to see their response. At the cabin, we had a chef come and he taught us how to make gnocchi, which is an Italian dish. So the things were different, but they loved it. It was really memorable and I really saw a change in the team after that. So for me to be able to expose these players to different things and to build stuff off the court is great, and I think that is what this experience is about. It is more than just basketball.”

2016-17 ARIZONA WILDCATS ROSTER

[table “” not found /]

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!

To Top