West Virginia continues to reshape roster with addition of guard Sarah Bates

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Before coaching a game at West Virginia, head coach Dawn Plitzuweit was tasked with needing to add to the Mountaineers’ roster.

A mix of past West Virginia players entering the transfer portal and previous commits reopening their recruitment left Plitzuweit with only seven members on the roster as she began her tenure in Morgantown.

Since being formally introduced as West Virginia’s head coach on April 5, Plitzuweit and the coaching staff she’s assembled have been busy adding players throughout this month — and the trend continued Wednesday in the form of guard Sarah Bates.

A 5-foot-9 guard, Bates comes to West Virginia after playing the last three seasons at Georgia Tech.

“We are absolutely elated to have Sarah join our Mountaineer family,” Plitzuweit said in a school release. “She is a very energetic and enthusiastic young lady and is someone who will bring great experience to our program. Sarah has a great skill set to go along with a high basketball IQ, and she is also very comfortable shooting it from the arc. We can’t wait for Sarah and her family join us in Morgantown.”

In the most recent campaign, Bates made eight starts in 31 appearances, playing better than 23 minutes on average. She scored 5.6 points per game, with all but six of her 58 field goals coming on 3-pointers.

Bates also added 31 assists and 12 steals and had only 31 turnovers in 719 minutes for an average of nearly one per 40 minutes.

In the 2020-2021 season, Bates averaged 6.9 points, but was limited to 11 games, all of which she started, after suffering a season-ending ankle injury. It was that season when Georgia Tech defeated West Virginia 73-56 for a spot in the Sweet 16, though Bates had been ruled out for the season well in advance of that contest.

In her first year with the Yellow Jackets, Bates saw action in 17 games and scored 1.1 points over an average of 4.5 minutes.

Bates had two previous stops in college prior to Georgia Tech. Out of high school, the Fresno, California, native went to University of California Santa Barbara, where she started 25 games and averaged 10.9 points and 2.8 assists. Bates made 61-of-148 triples, allowing her to connect on better than 41 percent of attempts from long range in her lone season with the Gauchos.

Bates then left UCSB and transferred to Kansas State, but never played for the Wildcats. She was forced to redshirt during the 2018-2019 campaign as a result of NCAA transfer rules at the time.

Bates is the third transfer WVU has added under Plitzuweit, joining Kylee Blacksten from Colorado and Kyah Watson, who previously played for Plitzuweit at South Dakota.

The addition of Bates, who has one season of eligibility remaining, leaves the Mountaineers with 10 players presently.

— — — — —

Guard KK Deans, who previously announced her intention to transfer from West Virginia, has found a new home.

Deans revealed Wednesday her commitment to Florida after spending her first three collegiate seasons at WVU.

Deans averaged a team-high 14.5 points over 18 starts in the 2021-2022 season before suffering a torn ACL in late January.

Despite missing the Mountaineers’ last 12 games as a result of the knee injury, Deans was fourth on the team with 29 steals.

In her second season at West Virginia, Deans was the Mountaineers’ second-leading scorer with 13.7 points to go with an average of nearly four assists.

Deans becomes the third member of West Virginia’s starting five last season to transfer to a member of the Southeastern Conference.

Previously, forward Esmery Martinez picked LSU and forward Kari Niblack settled on Georgia.

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