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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB new signings heading into 2024-2025 season

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Jay Corella
Wildcats players help Maya Nnaji up off the ground as Lady Buffs players do the same to Azia Himeur after an intense play during their game in the McKale Center in Tucson on Oct. 25. The Wildcats came out swinging with an intense offense lasting all the way through the first half.

As the Arizona women’s basketball team prepares for the upcoming 2024-2025 season, it’s made moves to reshape its roster for the upcoming season. Here’s a closer look at the latest updates.

Returning players:

Breya Cunningham, Montaya Dew, Skylar Jones, Jada Williams, Courtney Blakely, Sali Kourouma, Isis Beh, Erin Tack and Brooklyn Rhodes have years of eligibility left for the Wildcats. The last two joined as walk-ons but are now on scholarship.

On April 11, Beh decided to return for the 2024-2025 season, utilizing her COVID-19 extra year of eligibility; her presence will be vital as the team prepares for its upcoming season.

New signings:

Players officially inked their commitments on Signing Day on Wednesday, April 17, marking a significant day for the Wildcats. Among the fresh faces was incoming freshman Lauryn Swann, a standout talent from Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School. Swann also shines with the Exodus club team and brings promise to Arizona’s roster. Her journey mirrors that of former Wildcat Paris Clark, who, despite early-career injuries, left a lasting impact on the program.

The Wildcats also made the addition of Serbian forward Katarina Knežević to their roster. Standing at 6 feet tall, Knežević brings a formidable presence to the court. Her skills were on full display in last year’s International Basketball Federation U18 Women’s European Championship, where she played a crucial role in leading her team to the semifinals. Averaging an impressive 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game during the tournament, Knežević’s performance was highlighted by a standout game against Poland, where she scored 25 points, including four 3-point shots, alongside four rebounds and two assists. Beyond her international accolades, Knežević’s experience extends to the Serbian national team, where she has played alongside seasoned veterans. Additionally, she has honed her skills playing club basketball alongside former Wildcat Jade Loville and WNBA player Astou Ndour-Fall for Spar Gran Canaria in Spain. With her commitment to Arizona, Knežević became the first international addition to the team for this upcoming season.

Following Knežević’s commitment, German guard Mailien Rolf also made her commitment to the Wildcats. A 5-foot-10 guard from Germany, Rolf brings her own set of skills and experiences to the Wildcats. Having represented Germany at both the U18 and U20 levels, Rolf has demonstrated her ability to compete at the highest levels of international competition. Notably, she started for the German U18 team during the 2023 U18 Women’s European Championships, where she averaged 10 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Rolf’s versatility was further showcased during the Division B 2023 U20 Women’s European Championships, where she played alongside collegiate talents from prestigious programs. Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, Rolf’s contributions were significant, averaging 3.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals per game. With her commitment to Arizona, Rolf adds the team’s second international player along with depth and skill to the Wildcats’ backcourt for the upcoming season.

Transfers out and in:

In March, Kourouma entered the transfer portal and has now joined the University of Oregon. However, April brought promising news as transfers Sahnya Jah and Paulina Paris verbally committed to Arizona. Paris, transferring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will have two years to play at Arizona. She had to sit out much of last season with a lower-body injury. Before that, she averaged 5.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20.3 minutes per game. 

As for Jah, she is a transfer from the University of South Carolina who will be a sophomore next season. The 6-foot-1 forward was suspended indefinitely for detrimental conduct last season with South Carolina. However, it remains true that she has a great deal of potential, which means she can be an invaluable addition to this year’s team as long as she and the coaching staff can get on the same page.


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