Arizona Wildcats Coach Adia Barnes had her six-month old baby at the game and was pumping during halftime, a fact called out and commended by an ESPN reporter
The NCAA Women’s Basketball championship game was yesterday. Arizona lost to Stanford by just one point in an exciting finish, but it was the work going on in the locker room that should also be recognized and praised.
University of Arizona coach and former WNBA champion, Adia Barnes, came out of the locker room a bit later than her team because she was busy coaching them during halftime while also pumping for her six-month-old baby girl, Capri. “For those of you who think this is too much information, let’s normalize working mothers and all they have to do,” ESPN reporter Holly Rowe said while covering the game.
After the game, Barnes spoke to reporters about juggling motherhood and coaching a NCAA-bound team. “I had a baby right when season started. And took like a week off, it says I took a month off but I did not,” she said. “I was on Zoom calls four days after having a C-section so it was hard. But my team loved on me. I missed a couple of weeks, I got a little sick, they fought for me. I came back. They were patient. I’m happy.”
Barnes also talked about her “village” giving her the ability to be a successful working mom. “I represented moms, I have a baby here. I hear her crying ready to feed,” she continued. “I represent moms, you can be a coach, you can do it at an elite level. You just have to have a village like I do. I represent Black females, don’t get here too often and don’t get opportunities. But I had an opportunity today on the biggest stage and represented a lot.”
Barnes also joked about her daughter before the game on Sunday as well as her early wake-up call:
The mom-of-two addressed wearing many hats earlier in the week as well, saying in part, “I’m like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of hats.’ It’s the former WNBA [player], it’s the Black woman, it’s the mom.
“But it’s a privilege for me,” she said. “You can be a mom, you don’t have to stop coaching.”
For Barnes, that meant tending to her daughter and her team in one of the biggest games of her life. Arizona almost pulled it off, losing by just one point to Stanford, the number one seed.
After the game, Barnes tweeted how proud she was of her girls. “My team…my heart! This hurt but they played their hearts out and that’s all that I can ask for. I’m so proud of them and what we accomplished this year!”
It’s refreshing to have breastfeeding be a normal part of the conversation on the national stage. Coach Barnes has a job and a baby — if we want to talk about what it takes to be a working mom, it should be.