Transferring thrusts Alsdurf from starting role to bench duties

Emily Wickstrom

Many college athletes transfer because they think they can earn more playing time somewhere else.

Such is not the case for Minnesota women’s basketball player Katie Alsdurf.

Alsdurf, a 6-foot senior guard, was getting plenty of minutes in her first two seasons at Marquette, starting and one of the team’s primary scoring options.

But when Alsdurf decided to transfer to Minnesota two years ago, she found herself in an unaccustomed role ” coming off the bench and seeing limited floor time.

“I knew from day one when I talked with (Gophers coach Pam Borton) that no minutes were guaranteed here,” Alsdurf said. “I kind of accepted it, but I didn’t know what that exactly meant. I never came off the bench before in my life.”

Last year, in Alsdurf’s first season at Minnesota, she averaged just more than nine minutes a game and didn’t always get in the lineup.

After frustration and realizing that it would likely never be her role to be a big scorer for the Gophers, Alsdurf said she starting focusing on doing the “little things” that Borton stressed, like playing defense and fighting for rebounds.

“I’ve always had more of a scoring mind-set, so my mind-set’s kind of changed,” Alsdurf said. “Maybe now it won’t be hitting all the shots but it will be coming in, tipping balls around, being a little scrappier. Just being more of a hustle player than anything else.”

It appears her hard work is drawing the attention of the coaching staff, as Alsdurf has found herself getting playing time at the end of close games this season.

In Minnesota’s victory over Nebraska on Saturday, Alsdurf was on the floor at the end of a tight game, and came up with two big plays.

Her perfect pass to Liz Podominick in the post extended the Gophers lead, and her tight defense on a Huskers player forced a five-second call.

“I think Katie has shown in the last few games… that she went in and made big plays,” Borton said after the Nebraska game. “She goes in, she’s a steady force and she does the little things that we need at that given point in the game.”

Teammates said they agree. Although Alsdurf is still best known for her shooting touch, her focus on being a self-proclaimed “difference maker” is not going unnoticed.

“(Her shot) is always a constant for her,” senior guard Shannon Bolden said. “But now those other things, getting rebounds and playing good defense, are what’s getting her playing time, and that’s why she’s succeeding.”

On a deep team that has eight other people that can play guard, Alsdurf said she is trying to evaluate herself on things other than minutes or what shows up in the box score.

“It’s definitely just a goal to work my best and know when I come off the court that I’ve done a good job,” she said. “There’s games when I only played four minutes, but our team won and I played well. So that’s a success right there.”