Arizona Wildcats pick up two transfers

Wildcats add 2018 Big XII Freshman of the Year

It was a good day for Arizona women’s basketball. Despite returning all five starters from their WNIT championship team, including the nation’s top returning scorer, the Wildcats’ head coach Adia Barnes felt they still needed something more. They got that “something” when they received commitments from two transfers on Friday.

The first piece of good news dropped when Penn State grad transfer Amari Carter posted to her social media accounts that she was ready to be a Wildcat. Mere hours later, Former Oklahoma Sooner Shaina Pellington announced that she, too, was headed to Tucson.

All last season, Barnes spoke of Arizona’s need for more shooters to spread the floor. The addition of strong shooting would open things up for both Aari McDonald and Cate Reese. Last season, teams began to pack the paint to cut down on the drives from the dynamic McDonald. Forward Reese was also hampered by the tactic.

Carter will provide immediate help since she will be eligible to play in the 2019-20 season as a grad transfer. The 5-foot-8 guard started her career at Penn State in 2015 but was injured in the first quarter of the first game in the 2015-16 season. She redshirted that season, then played three years for the Lady Lions.

Last season, Carter averaged 9.6 points, 2.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. For Arizona’s purposes, her 33.1 percent outside shooting would have ranked fourth on the team among players who shot at least 45 threes. Carter attempted 124 threes over the 2018-19 season, which would have ranked third for the Wildcats.

In 2017-18, Carter was named to All-Big Ten Second Team by the coaches and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by the media. She also received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award that season.

About three hours after Carter made her announcement, Pellington also made her commitment public. The 2018 Big XII Freshman of the year has also played for the Canadian national team. A 5-foot-7 guard, she scored 13.1 points per game her freshman season.

Last season, Pellington scored 13.0 ppg but did not play in several games last season. She announced that she would transfer in early March. She will have to sit out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Barnes was certainly pleased with how the day unfolded. Late in the day, she tweeted, “Today is a good day.” Just moments later, she followed with, “Today is a great day!”

Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.