Adia Barnes didn’t waste much time in her search for two new assistants.
Barnes announced Friday that she added Tamisha Augustin and Jackie Nared to the Wildcats’ women’s basketball staff. They replace Morgan Valley and April Phillips, who left two weeks ago to become the head coach at Hartford and an assistant at Cal, respectively.
“I wanted hungry, excited, enthusiastic coaches with high character, and women who would mentor well,” said Barnes. “I wanted women who would represent the program with high character and integrity. And the X-factor was having a chip on their shoulders, having something to prove.
“Both Jackie and Tamisha were really high on my list. So as soon as changes came, I called them the next day. For me, fit is very important. I am observing and following (assistant coaches), and in this business changes happen fast. And when they happened, I was able to move in the direction I wanted to go in.”
Nared and Augustin played both in college and professionally — something else that is important to Barnes.
Nared spent two seasons playing in Switzerland and Belgium, earning Guard of the Year, First Team All-League and Import Player First Team recognition. At Saint Mary’s, she was a two-time first-team all-West Coast Conference selection. She led the league in scoring in both her junior and senior seasons, and set the school’s all-time single-season scoring record in 2013-14.
Nared spent last season on Washington State’s coaching staff. Before that, she was the director of player development at Washington — Barnes was a member of the Huskies’ staff then — and director of creativity and video at Oregon.
Augustin was the first American to play for KSC-Szekszard in Hungary before her playing career was cut short because of an injury. She played collegiately at Alabama A&M, where she was a two-time all-SWAC guard and a four-time team captain.
Augustin, who will also serve as Arizona’s recruiting coordinator, has coached at Minnesota, UCF, VCU, Marshall, South Carolina State, and most recently at Cincinnati during the 2017-18 season.
Both coaches are already in Tucson.
Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes. For former UA standout LaBrittney Jones, another country did the trick.
Jones, who graduated in May 2017, signed with Switzerland’s BC Winterthur after a less-than-ideal stint with Greece’s Proteas Voulas.
It didn’t take long for Jones to feel at home.
She was named MVP of the Week for the Swiss SBL, averaging 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
And, on April 27, Jones was the latest Wildcat to win a championship when her team won the Patrick Baumann Swiss Cup by defeating Elfic 58-56. She scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The big performance came on her birthday.
“The day couldn’t get any better waking up that day knowing it was my birthday and a big game day. I was excited the moment I opened my eyes,” Jones told the Star via email. “Although it was my birthday, the game was the only thing on my mind. I prepared the same as I would for any game. I had my music, Candy Crush (game on my phone), and a Red Bull. I do these things every game day and didn’t want to change up anything.”
Elfic led by Winterthur 31-27 at halftime. Jones’ team outscored Elfic 17-12 in the fourth quarter.
“The game was tough. We were down the whole game, and it was a battle,” Jones said.
Jones said she was “so exhausted” at the end. “I had played the whole game. Next thing I know the clock hit zero and we had won the game. I was so excited I was jumping up and down.”
Jones finished her UA career tied for third in program history in blocks (161), eighth in rebounding (668) and ninth in free throws made (305). As a senior in 2016-17, she was named honorable mention to the all-Pac-12 defensive team.
A few days after winning, Jones was still basking in the moment.
“The celebration was great, getting those medals and that trophy was the best feeling. The night when we got back to town our whole team and staff went out to celebrate together,” Jones said. “But our season is not over yet, we are playing in the finals series … vs. the same team for the league championship. So stay tuned for how that goes. The first game is May 5.”
More tickets sold
The Wildcats are ringing up season ticket sales just a few weeks after winning the WNIT championship.
The UA has already received more than 1,500 deposits for season tickets. There were 1,030 season ticket holders last season and 850 the year prior. Of the 1,500 deposits, more than 1,100 are from fans who are new to the program.
Maddie Searle, a graduate student manager who is graduating next week, will be joining Coach Valley at Hartford. Searle will serve as Hartford’s director of operations.