Transfers getting into swing of Arizona women's basketball
Five new transfers adjust to life as a Wildcat
The seven newcomers make up the majority of the Arizona women’s basketball team roster this season, and four of them are transfers.
Junior guard Carissa Crutchfield and junior forward Lynette Holmes are the only two transfers with Division I experience. Junior forward Alli Gloyd and junior guard and forward Kama Griffitts all came to Arizona from community colleges.
There is a significant difference between the two levels of play, which requires major adjustments both on and off the court.
For Holmes, even though Xavier is a Division I school, it is still small, so adjusting to the size of Arizona has been the biggest change for her, she said.
John Routh / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA vs. Grand Canyon University women's basketball
While at Xavier, Holmes made a connection with then-head coach Kevin McGuff, who also recruited her, but after he took the head coaching position at Washington, she said she no longer felt a connection to the team.
“My guardian told me to give the new head coach a chance, but we didn’t have the best relationship,” Holmes said. “When you pick a college, you pick a coach that you are on the same page with and I never had that with coach [Amy] Waugh.”
Holmes found that connection again with head coach Niya Butts.
“When I looked to transfer, coach Butts had all of that in her and I saw that she cared more for her kids than on the basketball court,” Holmes said.
Gloyd, who said she felt the same way about Butts, has impressed the coach with her performance.
“Not only is she a good talent and a great athlete, but she’s a good kid and great person,” Butts said. “She wants to learn the game and really takes everything you say and tries to apply it, which makes her very coachable.”
In her first game as a Wildcat, Gloyd scored 14 points, coming in as Arizona’s second highest scorer in the exhibition game against Grand Canyon University on Monday.
The biggest adjustment for Gloyd came from the fact that her days and weekends have been mapped out for her.
“We have weights in the morning, bright and early,” she said.
“Followed by class and practice, but between all that you have to find time for meals and dedicate time to study hall. It’s probably the biggest change for me.”
Griffitts joined the Wildcats last year, but had to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules.
“Sitting out last year was hard because I obviously wanted to play, but I just knew I wasn’t physically ready for Division I play,” Griffitts said. “This year I’m ready.”
The one thing Griffitts keeps in mind as she competes for a spot in the starting lineup is the level of talent Division I women’s basketball has to offer.
“The biggest challenge is the level of talent, because everyone is great, so you have to fight for a spot on the court.”
Butts recognizes the talent in these new players and believes the depth of the team will be a beneficial asset this season.
“It has been really fun because we have a lot of talent on the floor,” Butts said. “We have a lot of people that can do some different things, and we are excited about that.”