This is the tenth in a series previewing the Pac-12 teams
After some success a few years ago under sixth-year coach Niya Butts, the Arizona Wildcats are going to have to rebuild this season.
They are beginning with significant losses. First came leading scorer Davellyn White (17.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), who was drafted into the WNBA after graduation last spring. Then last week senior forward Alli Gloyd (9.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) tore her ACL and is out for the year.
The Wildcats still have their remaining three starters: senior guard/forward Kama Griffits (10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), senior forward Erica Barnes (8.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and senior guard Carissa Crutchfield (6.3 ppg). Junior guard Candice Warthen also returns after sitting out last year with an injury. She averaged 11.7 ppg the season prior to that. Two sophomore reserve guards are back as well, in Nyre Harris and Keyahndra Cannon.
Five newcomers round out the roster, which means Arizona will lack depth unless the new players can learn quickly.
Farrin Bell is a sophomore guard who transferred from SMU, where she averaged 3.4 ppg last year. The remaining new players are freshmen: forwards Dezja James, LaBrittney Jones and Breanna Workman, and guard Ashley Merrill. Jones was ranked 87th in the 2013 class, and 23rd at her position, while Workman was ranked 70th among forwards. Neither James nor Merrill were ranked.
Last year the Wildcats finished tenth in the Pac-12, and coaches tabbed them to finish eleventh in a preseason poll. Their WNIT appearance in 2011 and their last NCAA Tournament run in 2005 seem very far off.
Arizona takes on UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Wake Forest, BYU and Texas Tech in preconference play. They begin their Pac-12 schedule Jan. 3, at the University of Washington.