#23 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
 Minnesota Logo
Minnesota had to settle for a trip to the WNIT last year, but the hope is year two under Coach Lindsay Whalen will get the Golden Gophers to the next level. Without Kenisha Bell, who led the team with 19.1 points per game, Minnesota has some big holes to fill. However, there is some talent on this roster and enough experience to return to the NCAA Tournament.
2018-19 Record: 21-11, 9-9
2018-19 Postseason: WNIT
Coach: Lindsay Whalen
Coach Record: 21-11 at Minnesota, 21-11 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kenisha Bell, Guard, 19.1 ppg
Annalese Lamke, Center, 7.7 ppg
Irene Garrido Perez, Forward, 3.5 ppg
Palma Kaposi, Forward, 1.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Destiny Pitts, Junior, Guard/Forward, 16.3 ppg
Taiye Bello, Senior, Forward, 9.7 ppg
Jasmine Brunson, Senior, Guard, 8.4 ppg
Mercedes Staples, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Barbora Tomancova, Sophomore, Forward/Center, 2.3 ppg
Kehinde Bello, Senior, Forward, 1.1 ppg
Gadiva Hubbard, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Key New Players
Masha Adashchyk, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Grace Cumming, Freshman, Forward
Jasmine Powell, Freshman, Guard
Justice Ross, Freshman, Forward
Sara Scalia, Freshman, Guard
Kadi Sissoko, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Syracuse, not eligible
Destiny Pitts will be the new star of the team. The 5-10 junior averaged 16.3 points and knocked down 81 three-pointers last season. Senior Jasmine Brunson will again start on the perimeter after averaging 8.4 points and dishing out 2.7 assists. Incoming freshman Jasmine Powell will add some quality depth at the point. Mercedes Staples had a promising freshman campaign and should be a capable shooter off the bench as a sophomore. The return of Gadiva Hubbard will bolster the team’s outside shooting. She missed last season with an injury after making 69 three-pointers two years ago. With junior college transfer Masha Adashchyk, the Golden Gophers have plenty of backcourt options. The frontcourt will revolve around Taiye Bello. The 6-2 senior is a superb rebounder and defender and has turned into a pretty good interior scorer as well. Finding depth in the frontcourt could be an issue that keeps Minnesota off the top of the Big Ten pecking order. Barbora Tomancova missed most of last season with an injury and incoming freshman Justice Ross has plenty of potential, but there is not any proven depth behind Bello. If Minnesota can find an answer to that issue, they will make a return to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.5 (88th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.5 (80, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.8 (104, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (128, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (261, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.9 (103, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.9 (130, 8)
Rebound Margin: 6.5 (26, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.5 (140, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.4 (154, 11)
Madness 2019 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#86 Jasmine Powell
#137 Sara Scalia
#151 Justice Ross