#32 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten
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This is an important season for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are still trying to recapture the magic of the 2000’s when they went to six NCAA Tournament’s in seven years stretching from 2003 to 2009. Two years ago the program brought in Lindsay Whalen to lead the tea,. After finishing 21-11 with a trip to the WNIT in 2018-2019, Minnesota fell to 16-15 overall last year with a very disappointing 5-13 mark in Big Ten play. With the return of three double digit scorers, this should be the year the program finds some consistency and stability.
2019-20 Record: 16-15, 5-13
Coach: Lindsay Whalen
Coach Record: 37-26 at Minnesota, 37-26 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Destiny Pitts, Guard/Forward, 16.3 ppg
Taiye Bello, Forward, 11.8 ppg
Jasmine Brunson, Guard, 9.8 ppg
Masha Adashchyk, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Kehinde Bello, Forward, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Jasmine Powell, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Gadiva Hubbard, Senior, Guard, 11.2 ppg
Sara Scalia, Sophomore, Guard, 10.8 ppg
Klarke Sconiers, Sophomore, Center, 2.5 ppg
Barbora Tomancova, Sophomore, Forward/Center, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players
Laura Bagwell Katalinich, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Cornell
Grace Cummings, RS Freshman, Forward
Erin Hedman, Freshman, Forward
Kayla Mershon, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Nebraska, pending waiver
Justice Ross, RS Freshman, Forward
Kadi Sissoko, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Syracuse
Alexia Smith, Freshman, Guard
Caroline Strande, Freshman, Guard
Daja Woodard, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
The backcourt trio of Jasmine Powell, Sara Scalia and Gadiya Hubbard will have to carry this team for now. Powell was just a part-time starter as a freshman, but still managed to average 12.1 points and a team high 3.1 assists. Powell is ready to emerge as the team’s top overall scoring threat. Scalia, another very promising sophomore, hit 36.9 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc. Hubbard, the lone returning upperclassmen on the roster, is another double digit scorer and the team’s most prolific three-point shooter. That is a great trio to build around, but the big questions are in the frontcourt where Coach Whalen has brought in a bunch of newcomers to help fill the void. Laura Bagwell Katalinich is a very experienced senior who comes from Cornell where she led the Big Red in scoring and rebounding last season. Kadi Sissoko also has some Division I experience after spending one season at Syracuse where she saw limited playing time. Daja Woodard spent a couple seasons at the junior college level and she should at least be a solid contributor on the defensive end of the floor. The highest rated freshmen are guards Alexia Smith and Caroline Strande, but forward Erin Hedman has the talent to make an impact right away too. Minnesota has a lot of questions after the three returning guards, but this team has talent. If the new pieces can come together, especially in the frontcourt, Minnesota could start to turn things around and be a competitive team in the Big Ten.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.6 (64th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.5 (270, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 39.5 (192, 12)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (314, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (47, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.4 (21, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.4 (34, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (219, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (186, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (83, 5)
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#93 Alexia Smith
#95 Caroline Strande
#125 Erin Hedman