When asked how it felt to be close to reaching 1,000 career points, redshirt junior guard Gadiva Hubbard did not give an immediate answer. In fact, before answering, a surprised look fell upon her face.
“I am?” Hubbard asked. “Oh, okay! Well now that I know … I guess this is exciting.”
Hubbard played 55 games in her first two seasons at Minnesota before missing all of last season due to a foot injury. She said coming off the injury was challenging for her. She didn’t feel like herself on the court until Minnesota’s win against Arizona State in November. But now, Hubbard is only 16 points shy of the 1,000-point club with seven games left in the regular season.
Throughout her career, Hubbard has been known as one of the Gophers’ primary sharpshooters. In her career thus far, she has shot 34.9 percent from 3-point range and has had at least 120 3-point attempts in every season she’s played. This season, Hubbard is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points per game and shooting 35.4 percent from three. Her skills also translate to the defensive end of the floor as she leads the team with 40 steals.
With the milestone on the horizon, Hubbard has fallen into an untimely shooting slump. Against Indiana and Nebraska last week, Hubbard scored only eight points and shot 12.5 percent in those two games combined. She climbed out of the slump Sunday and caught fire in crunch time of the Gophers’ double-overtime victory against Rutgers as she made three 3-point shots in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points.
But arguably the most important thing Hubbard provides the Gophers is her leadership. After Minnesota’s close win against Nebraska, head coach Lindsay Whalen said Hubbard’s leadership played a key role in encouraging the Gophers when things were not going their way. Whalen also noted how Hubbard has become more of a leader as the season has progressed.
“[Gadiva’s] been great. Obviously missing the whole year last year was tough, but all year I think she’s worked herself back to where she’s been someone on the team taking a vocal leadership role,” Whalen said. “She’s been someone who we’ve been able to rely on during games and practices and off the court as well.”
Senior guard Jasmine Brunson echoed similar thoughts about Hubbard. Brunson and Hubbard came to Minnesota at the same time and have been teammates since the 2016-17 season. Brunson is in her final season for the Gophers, but Hubbard has one more year of eligibility left. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Hubbard will continue to add to her points total next season for the Gophers. For Brunson, Hubbard has been a great teammate as well as friend away from basketball.
“I love her … She makes me better,” Brunson said. “She pushes me and more importantly she has my back off the court as well so I just really love having her around.”
Hubbard will be the 26th member to reach the 1,000-point mark for Minnesota’s women’s basketball program. The last player to reach the milestone was Destiny Pitts earlier this season in a win against Arizona State.