Adia Barnes wanted change — she expressed that on the very night Arizona was eliminated from the NCAA tournament by North Carolina — and four days after that loss to the Tar Heels, she visited former Oklahoma State standout Lauren Fields and her family in an attempt to lure Fields to Tucson.
Arizona assistant Ashley Davis, who left Oklahoma State after the 2020-21 season to join Barnes’ staff, was also on that trip.
Fields, Oklahoma State’s leading scorer last season at 15.4 points a game, has finally made her decision to join Barnes, Davis and the Wildcats. She announced her move on Twitter on Sunday and the program followed with a tweet that indicated Fields has signed.
Arizona has lost 10 players from last year’s roster and it has signed five newcomers, including Fields. That means Barnes has five more scholarships to fill.
Jeremiah 29:11, 100% committed. 🐻⬇️❤️ pic.twitter.com/rlPYMnFsZC
— Lauren Fields (@laurendfields) May 2, 2022
Welcome to Tucson, Lauren!
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) May 2, 2022
After an 11-0 start last season, the Wildcats struggled. They went 10-8 the rest of the way because of injury and chemistry problems that especially inhibited the team offensively.
Bendu Yeaney, who has since transferred to Pac-12 foe Oregon State, mentioned after Arizona lost to UCLA late in the regular season: “We got one game left and half our team doesn’t know the plays.”
“Those things were exposed in the last part of the season,” Barnes said of her team’s inability to mesh well late in the season. “That’s the reality. It is what it is but that’s not gonna happen again, because we’re not going to have a team that where that can happen again.”
Fields also averaged 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection.
She told the Oklahoman in early March that her “energy” makes her effective on the defensive end. Barnes is a stickler for defense.
“It’s just my energy, not taking breaks on the defensive end when I get tired,” Fields told the Oklahoman. “I want to make sure we can set up buckets in transition. I try to get in passing lanes, be active with my hands.”
She had season-highs last season of 26 points against TCU and six steals against Texas. She also tied for the team-high in blocked shots for the season with 21 despite being 5-foot-9.
Arizona lost seven players to the transfer portal, two seniors (Sam Thomas and Ariyah Copeland) and junior Taylor Chavez, who is graduating and pursuing a career outside of basketball.
Here is the look at the 2022-23 roster as it looks now:
- Paris Clark, Fr., PG/SG, 5-8
- Madison Conner, Soph., SG, 5-11
- Lauren Fields, Jr, SG, 5-9
- Kailyn Gilbert, Fr., PG, 5-8
- Lemyah Hilton, Fr., PG/SG, 5-11
- Maya Nnaji, Fr., PF, 6-4
- Shaina Pellington, Sr., PG, 5-8
- Helena Pueyo, Sr., G/F, 6-0
- Cate Reese, Sr., PF, 6-2
- Lauren Ware, Jr., PF/C, 6-5