Arizona coach Adia Barnes continues to shore up her frontcourt with Trinity Baptiste moving on to the WNBA with the addition on Thursday of 6-foot-3 forward Ariyah Copeland of Alabama.
Copeland originally transferred to LSU on April 8 but requested out of that scholarship after Nikki Fargas stepped down as the Tigers’ coach on April 15.
Copeland will be in Arizona’s top rotation along with 6-2 forward Cate Reese, a senior in 2021-22 and 6-foot sophomore forward Koi Love, a transfer from Vanderbilt.
Incoming freshman forward Aaronette Vonleh and post players Lauren Ware and Semaj Smith are also slated to be part of the frontcourt.
Copeland was a four-year player for Alabama who accumulated 16 career double-doubles. She is No. 2 on the Crimson Tide career field goal percentage list at 55.8 percent.
She shot 60.9 percent from the field in 2020-21, which ranked third in the nation and first in the SEC. It was the top single-season field goal percentage in Alabama history.
Copeland played in 111 games and started 77 for the Crimson Tide. She averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds over the four seasons. In 2020-21, she averaged 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. She has 97 career blocked shots, including 25 this past season.
Welcome to the family Aryiah! 🐻🔽 pic.twitter.com/04QZllPedR
— ADIA BARNES COPPA 🐻⬇️🌵👨👨👧👦❤️💙 (@AdiaBarnes) April 23, 2021
Copeland was rated No. 50 overall by Prospects Nation and No. 72 overall by All Star Girls report coming out of Columbus (Ga.) High School in 2017.
She was a 2017 Naismith Trophy Honorable Mention All-American and McDonald’s All-American Game nominee. Copeland was a GHSA Class 4A First Team All-State selection and honorable mention all-state by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2016-17.
Copeland is graduating from Alabama with a degree in human performance exercise science.
Love transferred earlier this month from Vanderbilt after averaging 20.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in eight games with the Commodores before their season was canceled because of COVID-19 protocol.
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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.