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Media Monday: Adia Barnes, from Arizona star and WNBA champion to successful NCAA head coach

Apr 19, 2021

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By Tamryn Spruill

Before becoming one of four coaches to lead an alma mater to a national title game, and the first since 2016 to make Final Four appearances in her first five seasons, Arizona Cardinals head coach Adia Barnes made a name for herself on the hardwood at every stage of the game.

As a player with the Arizona Wildcats, Barnes averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.12 steals and 1.2 assists per game; she averaged 50.9 percent shooting from the field goal and 70.3 shooting from the free-throw line. Barnes finished her run at Arizona a three-time All-Pac-10 designee and a Pac-10 Player of the Year.

Photo credit: Tamryn Spruill.


Photo credit: Tamryn Spruill.


Barnes was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs (now-defunct) in 1998 and averaged 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a rookie. In the 1999 WNBA Expansion Draft, she was picked seventh by the Minnesota Lynx, where she played for one season before moving on to play two with the Cleveland Rockers (now-defunct).

Barnes capped a three-year stint with the Seattle Storm, in 2004, by helping the franchise to its first WNBA title.

After becoming the Arizona women’s basketball head coach in 2016 and leading the Wildcats to year-over-year success, Barnes’ contract in 2021 was extended through the 2026 season.


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