Adia Barnes continued to shore up her frontcourt for the 2023-24 season with the addition Monday of West Virginia’s Isis Beh and Arkansas-Little Rock’s Salimatou Kourouma from the transfer portal.
Beh is 6-foot-3 player from Murray, Utah, who played at UNLV as a freshman in 2019-20 before transferring to Salt Lake City College in 2020-21 and West Virginia in 2021-22. She redshirted in 2021-22 and played in 27 games off the bench this season for the Mountaineers. She has two years of eligibility left.
#MadeForIt #LeaveALegacy pic.twitter.com/BCSybHFvUy
— isis beh (@isisbeh) April 10, 2023
Kourouma is 5-foot-11 and from Mali. She redshirted in 2019-20 at Grayson College in Denison, Texas, before beginning her college career there in 2020-21. She transferred to Arkansas-Little Rock in 2021-22 and evolved into the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year topping others with 17.8 points per game in conference games. She also has two years of eligibility remaining.
Adia Barnes continues to develop depth with quality experienced rotation and situational players.
#MadeForlt #LeaveALegacy pic.twitter.com/a3dnonGF9Z
— Salimatou Kourouma (@SalimatouKouro1) April 11, 2023
Beh did not start a game for West Virginia this season and averaged 10.1 minutes per game.
Kourouma started in 11 of 20 games for UALR this season.
Middle Tennessee State guard Courtney Blakely, who announced Saturday she is transferring to Arizona, started in 10 out of the Blue Raiders’ 31 games this season.
The addition of Beh, who is 6-foot-3, gives Arizona five players for 2023-24 who are at least 6-2, addressing a lack of interior depth last season.
They are Montaya Dew, 6-2; Esmery Martinez, 6-2; Beh, 6-3; Breya Cunningham, 6-4; and Maya Nnaji, 6-4.
Add in Kourouma, who averaged 7.0 rebounds a game for UALR, and Barnes has what could be a formidable presence around the basket.
Beh made all four of her field-goal attempts and finished with eight points in West Virginia’s loss to Arizona in the NCAA tournament first round last month. Her best game was 13 points and seven rebounds in a 62-60 win Feb. 15 at home against Kansas, a team that beat Arizona 77-50 at McKale Center on Dec. 8.
She is a former teammate of Martinez at West Virginia. Barnes’ special assistant to the head coach, Bett Shelby came to Tucson from Morgantown, W.Va., before last season. She was the top assistant for the Mountaineers for three years before joining Barnes’ staff.
Kouroma reached at least 20 points in nine games, including 30 in a 65-45 win over Southeast Missouri State on Jan. 7.
The future is bright!! We are just getting started.
— ADIA BARNES COPPA (@AdiaBarnes) April 11, 2023
Arizona’s projected roster next season with the addition of Blakely, Kouroma and Beh:
PG Jada Williams, 5-6, Fr.
PG Courtney Blakeley, 5-8, Jr.
PG/SG/SF Helena Pueyo, 6-0, Sr.
PF Montaya Dew, 6-2, Fr.
PF Salimatou Kourouma, 5-11, Jr.
PF Esmery Martinez, 6-2, Sr.
PF/C Isis Beh, 6-3, Jr.
PF/C Breya Cunningham, 6-4, Fr.
C Maya Nnaji, 6-4, Soph.
Barnes tweeted that Arizona is not done yet potentially adding players from the portal. The Wildcats have six scholarship spots available, although it is likely Barnes will not use all of them.
NOTES: Former Arizona guard Madison Conner announced via social media that she is transferring to TCU. … Jade Loville was Arizona’s lone selection in the WNBA Draft on Monday, going in the third round to Seattle. … Cate Reese and Shaina Pellington were not drafted but they will likely try to make a team as an undrafted free agent, similar to Sam Thomas last year with the Phoenix Mercury.
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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.