Mershon eligible to join Gophers for rest of 2020-21 season

Nebraska-transfer Kayla Mershon is set to join Gophers, after being ruled eligible Tuesday.

Williams Arena as seen on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Tony Saunders

Williams Arena as seen on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Tony Liebert

The 1-3 Gophers women’s basketball team received some positive news Tuesday, as Nebraska-transfer Kayla Mershon was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and Big Ten.

Mershon, a Minnetonka, Minn. native, will have two full years of on-court eligibility remaining after playing the past two seasons for the University of Nebraska. The junior forward averaged 2.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes of action in each of the 60 games she appeared in as a Cornhusker. She believes that her game has plenty of room to grow.

“I really want to work on my scoring mentality. At Nebraska, they saw me more as a defensive threat, while the coaches here want me to be more of an overall player,” Mershon said. “I think working on my offensive game and connections with my teammates will make the transition that much easier.”

In her high school career with the Minnetonka Skippers, Mershon found great success. She was a four-time first-team All-Lake Conference player and led the Skippers to the 2016 state title as a junior. She followed that up, averaging 12.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game as a senior. Her heralded prep career led to her being ranked as the No. 14 wing nationally by ESPN. Growing up in Minnesota, Mershon knew that the University of Minnesota was the place for her.

“When I came to play at Minnesota last season [with Nebraska], there were 30 of my friends and family at the game, and I just felt loved,” she said. “I knew that this place felt like home.”

The 6-foot-3 forward will be eligible to join the Gophers as soon as Wednesday’s matchup with preseason Big Ten favorite Indiana. Mershon will provide much needed experience for a Gophers team that starts only one player with more than two full years of experience playing in the Big Ten conference.

Lindsay Whalen’s struggling Gophers team is slated to host the No. 19 ranked Hoosiers Wednesday, followed by a trip to Madison, Wis., on Jan. 3 and Iowa City, Iowa, on Jan. 6.