Colorado @ Arizona
Sunday, Feb. 23
Television: Live on the Pac-12 Networks, Jim Watson and Kyndra De St. Aubin on the call
Radio: KTUC AM 1400 (Derrick Palmer and Lisa Salgado)
Live Stats: Arizona.statb.us
Many can say they have been at McKale Center during a game, but only a few can say they were actually the ones playing and representing the University of Arizona.
Arizona seniors Erica Barnes, Kama Griffitts and Carissa Crutchfield will be taking the floor of McKale for the final time Sunday, Feb. 23, when the Colorado Buffaloes come to town.
Barnes has been at the U of A since her freshman season and has had her fair shares of ups and downs, but wouldn’t trade her time here for anything.
“It’s been a positive experience for me,” Barnes said. “I’m going to miss it a lot, just waking up and seeing Tucson every day. Tucson is a great city.”
Griffitts transferred from North Idaho College in 2011, but felt right at home when she decided to choose Arizona to continue her career.
“The transfer experience was easier than I what I thought it was going to be,” Griffitts said. “It’s different in regards to the style of play. The competition here is top level.”
For Griffitts, the choice was easy. She knew it was the place to be when she made her official visit.
“I chose Arizona because of the beautiful campus and because the school has a great name for itself.” Griffitts said. “The atmosphere is just incredible and the Wildcat family is unlike any other.”
But Griffitts’ experience at UA was more than just a change of climate.
“My experience here at the University of Arizona has been life changing,” Griffitts said.
Crutchfield played her basketball career in Oklahoma before transferring, but decided to make the leap after Oklahoma State head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna lost their lives in a plane crash in 2011.
“It’s been a positive experience,” Crutchfield said. “It’s different, but a good kind of different. I learned a lot of things about myself. Being away from family and friends, you learn to become independent.”
For Crutchfield, it was Coach Butts and her staff that won her over.
“They were interactive,” Crutchfield said. “They want to get to know you as a person, not just as a basketball player and that means a lot.”
One of all three girls’ most cherished victories of their Arizona careers came on Sunday, Feb. 9 against No. 11 ASU, a game where they beat their in-state rival, 68-49 for the first time since 2011.
“It was definitely a top-five victory for me,” Crutchfield said. “It was my last time to beat them and we did. The fact that they were a highly-ranked team made it even sweeter. It will always stick with me.”
Griffitts will also remember the win forever.
“I won a JUCO title at North Idaho and that was an amazing feeling,” said Griffitts. “But the win over ASU is easily a top-five win.”
No matter how high the highs were or how low the lows were, Barnes, Crutchfield and Griffitts will always have the memories and friendships that turned their team into a family.
“I’m going to miss the atmosphere that Arizona brings,” Griffitts said. “I’m going to miss the Wildcat family.”