The newest addition to Adia Barnes’ 2023-24 roster — former Middle Tennessee State point guard Courtney Blakely — has yet to play at McKale Center, but her mother has that experience.
After three years as a starting 5-foot-10 guard at Iowa, Angela Hamblin Blakely played briefly for the Detroit Shock in the WNBA in 1998 — the same year Barnes started her professional career.
Angela also played in the now-defunct National Women’s Basketball League and was part of an NWBL USA Elite Team (comprised of the league’s top players) that toured the nation and played college teams in 2001.
One of their stops was McKale Center.
Angela scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and pulled down nine rebounds in the 88-65 loss on Nov. 11, 2001, in front of 1,053 at McKale.
She was a USA Today and Parade All-American coming out of Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace High School in 1994. She is inducted in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Angela recently completed her third year as the head coach at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Ind.
She is also the co-director of the Hamblin Foundation, also known as Hamblin Hoops. The organization develops female athletes in the Northwest Indiana and Chicago area offering basketball training and development, camps, mentorship, planning, assistance with the college recruiting process and academic tutoring.
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Angela Blakely coached Courtney and younger daughter Kennedy (Class of 2024 small forward) as an assistant at Hammond (Ind.) Bishop Noll Institute, where Courtney became the school’s career leading scorer (girls or boys) with 2,324 points — ranking 16th among girls in state history.
Courtney, who has two years of eligibility remaining, fills a need at the guard position for Barnes with Shaina Pellington exhausting her eligibility and freshman backup Kailyn Gilbert entering the transfer portal to be closer to her Florida home (according to a social-media post by Barnes).
Paris Clark, another freshman guard, announced Friday she is transferring to Virginia. Two other guards — freshman Lemyah Hylton and junior Madison Conner — are also in the transfer portal.
Courtney figures to be an ideal rotation player for Barnes with McDonald’s All-American point guard Jada Williams joining the program. Helena Pueyo, who is returning for her fifth year, also has experience at the point.
— Courtney Blakely (@cabblakely1) April 7, 2023
Courtney played in 31 games, earning 10 starts, with Middle Tennessee State, which finished 28-5 overall and 18-2 in Conference USA (winning the regular season and conference tournament titles). The Raiders lost to Colorado 82-60 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
She came off the bench in that game and finished with six points and four assists in 15 minutes.
She averaged 7.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game and shot 42.8 percent from the field after shooting 37.6 percent as a freshman. She also made 75.3 percent of free-throw attempts.
She nearly recorded a triple-double in a win over UTSA on Jan. 5 with 11 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. She had no turnovers in that game.
Noted for her quickness, Courtney also had 43 steals, tied for second-most with MTSU.
Her other offers out of high school were from Indiana State and Northwest Florida State Junior College.
The Indiana All-Star in 2021 led the state with 31.7 points a game. She also averaged 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.4 steals. She posted a program-record 55 points in one game, capping a four-game stretch in which she also scored 49, 50 and 37.
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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.