Why 2018-19 will be better for Arizona Women’s Basketball

It has been a tough 2017-18 season as the Arizona Women’s Basketball team sits in eleventh in the Pac-12. Luckily, brighter days are ahead.

Winning programs aren’t created over night, and so far it has been a tough season for the Arizona Women’s Basketball team, as the Wildcats have just six wins, and sit in eleventh place in the Pac-12.

The Wildcats haven’t had a winning season in nearly eight years, and its been even longer since the program has been to the NCAA Tournament, their last big dance appearance coming in 2004-05.

Since then, the program has gone just 133-208, finishing with 16-wins or better just twice, and making the NIT Tournament in 2010-11.

In 2008-09, Niya Butts would take over a stale program, hoping to turn around a program in desperate need of success. During her tenure with the Wildcats, Butts went a collective 102-147, having just one winning season in 2010-11.

Well, after eight seasons in Tucson, it was time to move on. That led to the hiring of Adia Barnes.

Barnes was a former standout post player for the University of Arizona from 1994-98, that would also play professionally both in the WNBA and internationally.

Following a lengthy playing career, Barnes would turn to coaching, becoming an assistant for the Washington Huskies women’s basketball team from 2011-16.

Finally, on April 4, 2016, Barnes would get her chance, being named head coach at Arizona, hoping to return the team to its former glory.

In her first season with the Wildcats, Barnes went 14-16, with a 5-13 conference record, finishing in eleventh place. This year, the wins have been few and far between.

Since starting the season 2-0, the Wildcats have gone 4-21. Their last win came on February 4 against the last place Washington Huskies.

While it’s been tough to watch, brighter days are coming. Beyond watching the Wildcats struggle, there is some very good talent that will take to the court next season.

On the bench is; Aarion McDonald, a former Washington Huskies standout player and the No. 51 overall rated player in the 2016 recruiting class. McDonald transferred to Tucson after her All Pac-12 Freshman season last year.

Additionally, there is Dominique McBryde and Tee Tee Starks, two transfers from Purdue and Iowa State respectively. Both are sitting out this season as per transfer rules, who would undoubtedly provide some much needed talent and depth.

The combination of McDonald, McBryde and Starks will be eligible next season, and returning will be four of the five leading scorers for the Wildcats. Even better is that Barnes brings in one of the nations best recruiting classes.

Can’t help but think 2018-19 will be significantly better. As tough as this season has been, I like to think it will be an anomaly, and one that Barnes probably won’t let happen again.

At Zona Zealots, we’re encouraged for the future of the Women’s Basketball team, and only hope they can finish strong this year! Bear Down, Arizona!