Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Looking ahead: Gophers women’s basketball offseason preview

After a tumultuous 2021-22 campaign, Minnesota finished with a 15-18 record following a second-round exit from the WNIT.
Image by Ethan Fine
Minnesota guard Alexia Smith dribbles the ball through her leg in a game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Gophers won that game 57-55.

The Gophers opened their 2021-22 season with an unexpected 69-66 home loss to Atlantic Sun conference foe Jacksonville, who finished the season with a 16-13 record.

Three-year starting point guard Jasmine Powell entered the NCAA transfer portal mid-season on Jan. 28. Bench players Klarke Sconiers and Erin Hedman followed suit a few days later and the team’s fourth-leading scorer (10.8 PPG) Kadi Sissoko joined them in the portal on March 22.

After a season filled with storylines, Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen was extended one season through 2024-25.

Since the NCAA officially implemented new transfer rules in 2021, college sports’ offseasons have become cluttered with roster moves and players changing teams, mirroring professional sports and leaving the question — what is next for the Gophers?

Lost production
Minnesota will be losing four major contributors to graduation. Deja Winters (11.2 PPG), Gadiva Hubbard (6.9 PPG), Laura Bagwell Katalinich (5.5 PPG) and Bailey Helgren (1.6 PPG) have all run out of eligibility for the Maroon & Gold.

The Gophers will be losing each of its top six scorers from this season and at least 87% of its total scoring. Senior post player Kayla Mershon has the opportunity to return for one more season. She has yet to announce her decision.

Historical recruiting class
Reinforcements are coming. The Gophers will be welcoming their highest ranked recruiting class in program history. ESPN ranks the group of four players as the 10th best in the country.

Six-foot guard Mara Braun, from Wayzata, is the highest ranked player in the class at No. 28 overall.

“Mara Braun is a dynamic guard who can play and defend multiple positions,” Whalen said. “She has a knack for scoring and making big plays for her team when they need it. She is a winner.”

Sister of current Gophers men’s basketball standout Jamison Battle, Amaya Battle ranks No. 39 overall. Hailing from Chaska, 6-foot-1 forward Mallory Heyer ranks No. 55. Completing the quartet, from Eden Prairie, 6-foot forward Nia Holloway ranks as the 90th best incoming freshman.

Looking ahead to 2022-23
Sophomore guard Alexia Smith (3.4 PPG) and freshman Alanna Micheaux (4.7 PPG) will be the leaders of the team next season. Both came to Minnesota as big-time high school recruits and they will get the opportunity to showcase their talent next season.

The team will regain sophomore guard Katie Borowicz, who missed all of the 2021-22 season due to back surgery. Freshman guard Maggie Czinano will look for a bigger role after redshirting her first season with the team.

The transfer portal isn’t all negative; it also gives teams an opportunity to quickly improve. Whalen showed that last season with the additions of Winters from North Carolina A&T and Helgren from Kansas. Whalen will likely look to do the same this offseason.

With the potential of only five returning players, the Gophers will have a new look next season. It will be Whalen’s fifth season at the helm. They will look to return to the NCAA Tournament, a place the program hasn’t been since the 2018 season.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *