Gophers women’s basketball’s Hubbard, Bagwell-Katalinich back for additional season

Following Gadiva Hubbard and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich’s decision to utilize their extra season of eligibility, the Gophers will now return their entire roster from a season ago.

Guard Gadiva Hubbard reaches to grab the ball during the game against Arizona State at Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. The Gophers defeated the Sun Devils 80-66.

Jasmin Kemp

Guard Gadiva Hubbard reaches to grab the ball during the game against Arizona State at Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. The Gophers defeated the Sun Devils 80-66.

Tony Liebert, Sports Reporter

Seniors Gadiva Hubbard and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich will both be taking advantage of the NCAA’s decision to offer an extra year of eligibility for all student-athletes due to COVID-19 and will return for Gophers women’s basketball next season, University of Minnesota athletics announced Wednesday.

“We are excited that Diva and Laura chose to use their extra year of eligibility and play another season at Minnesota,” Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen said in a statement. “They both embody our core values and what it means to be a Gopher. They are first and foremost great teammates, and bring a wealth of experience and leadership to our program. The continuity of our roster for two straight years will positively impact our chemistry and competitive success.”

Hubbard, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native was a fifth-year senior last season. She had a large role on the team last season, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43.2% from the field; she started 14 games and appeared in 16. She will enter next season 17th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,249 points.

“I decided to take the extra year because I love playing the game,” Hubbard said in a statement. “If I could play forever I would. I have a great relationship with Coach Whalen and the rest of the staff. And you can’t beat an extra degree.”

The 2020-21 season was Bagwell-Katalinich’s first with the Gophers. She joined the program as a graduate senior following a successful career with Cornell. The 6-foot forward averaged 5.9 points and 3.7 rebounds last season in a role off the bench. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native will provide much-needed frontcourt depth.

“I am thrilled to be returning for another year at Minnesota,” Bagwell-Katalinich said in a statement. “A season removed from a huge transition to the Big Ten, untimely injuries, and the general uncertainty of what a “COVID season” would look like, I hope this upcoming year will allow me to be the player I know I can be. I am eager to get back in the gym and continue building a culture that will outlast my time in the Maroon and Gold.”

Hubbard and Bagwell-Katalinich will return to a team that finished 8-13 last season and now brings back every player from last year’s roster. The Gophers will also bring in a freshman class featuring Maggie Czinano and Alanna Micheaux.