The last time the Arizona women’s basketball team was ranked as high as it is now — 18th in the AP Top 25 poll — there was no such thing as a podcast.
Almost 17 years later from that time in history, Adia Barnes is embarking on a career as a podcast host in addition to being the Arizona head coach.
The Wildcats — tying the school record with a 9-0 start — are ranked No. 18 for the first time since the Jan. 6, 2003 poll was released. The idea of a podcast was not developed until 2004 and the word was not recognized in dictionaries until December 2005.
The Made for It: Adia Barnes Podcast debuts next Monday. Arizona Athletics gave the public a taste for what’s to come with a brief 3-minute preview of the first podcast — an interview with men’s hoops coach Sean Miller.
Barnes promises the interview will allow the listener to get to know Miller better “behind the scenes” and what he’s like away from basketball.
Give credit to Barnes for knowing what the public wants through social media and delivering. Her tweets and Facebook posts last season during the WNIT championship run were legendary for getting fans to fill McKale Center.
The podcast will be another form of reaching out to fans with the intent to get them more interested in her program. In turn, that can get them into McKale Center to share in her team’s experiences. Barnes knows exactly how to drum up interest in her program and she’s getting it done.
History-Making in the Process
In addition to this being Arizona’s highest rated team in 17 years, the Wildcats are on the brink of breaking the school record for the best start to a season.
That occurred in 1995-96 and 1999-2000 with 9-0 starts — where Arizona is now. A win over Tennessee State on Thursday night (6:30 tip) at McKale Center will make history for the program’s best start.
The highest ranking in the program’s history? That is No. 7, which happened three separate times in the 1997-98 season. The last time was on Feb. 23, 1998.
That same day, Barnes was named Pac-10 Player of the Week coming off a 19-point, 13-rebound and six-steal performance in a 68-48 win over Oregon. As a senior that season, Barnes led the Wildcats to an average ranking of No. 10 in 18 appearances.
Arizona Women's Hoops AP Top 25 Rankings HistoryDetails the seasons, number of appearances in a season, the highest and lowest rankings of that season and the average ranking of that season.
Some others on that roster: Cha-Ron Walker (mom of Arizona defensive Jalen Harris and wife of former Desert Swarm defender Sean Harris), Felecity Willis (now a Pac-12 referee) and other big-time performers such as DeAngela Minter, Mikko Giordano, Alexander Marte, Lisa Griffith, Reshea Bristol, Monika Crank and Lakeisha Taylor — by far the best team in Arizona women’s history.
Cate the Great
Sophomore forward Cate Reese averaged a double-double in wins over Monmouth and UTEP last week and was rewarded with her first Pac-12 Player of the Week selection. With junior guard Aari McDonald selected Pac-12 Player of the Week three weeks ago, this marks the first time since the 2004-05 season that two Wildcats have been named the conference’s player of the week in one season.
Arizona is also the first team in the Pac-12 to have two Player of the Week honors this season.
Arizona Career Double-Double Leaders
Reese averatged 17.5 points and 14 rebounds per game on 59 percent shooting from the field against Monmouth and UTEP. She averages 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game overall. She is shooting 55 percent from the field.
On the road at UTEP while the Wildcats were shorthanded — three players out with mild injuries including fellow frontcourt player Dominique McBryde — Reese carried the load scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds. She also blocked three shots.
Reese now has three double-doubles this season, which is the second-most in the Pac-12. She is the 12th player in school history to have 10 double-doubles in a career.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.