The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball team is back on the court at practice after what coach Lindsay Whalen described as a “string of some positive (COVID-19) cases” last week put a hold on team activities.
Whalen, speaking on Big Ten women’s basketball preseason Zoom call, said they had a “really good day,” of practice on Thursday and had begun doing individual work earlier this week after an unspecified number of positive coronavirus cases cropped up last week.
“We’re keeping everybody safe, making sure we’re doing everything we can with safety first, and so, yeah, we took some time to make sure we strung some days together where there were no new cases, and we’ve done that, and so now we’re back in the gym,” Whalen said.
While the Gophers’ schedule this season has not been released, they are expected to begin playing games later this month. How far they get into the season is anyone’s guess.
Last year, the sport had to shut down in March, skipping the NCAA Tournament and WNIT because of COVID-19. Whalen is hopeful that won’t be the case this year.
“March is going to happen one way or another. Now I hope we’re playing and I hope that everything goes smoothly,” she said Friday. “… Every team, every university, every conference is doing everything they can do make sure that everybody is doing it safely and we just have to keep following the guidelines and listening to the doctors and the trainers, and if we do those things, I think we can pull it off.”
No Gophers player has worn jersey No. 13 since Whalen’s college days came to a close in 2004, but the coach said Friday that she would like to see someone wear it in the future.
While Whalen’s number hangs in the rafters at Williams Arena, it hasn’t officially been retired. Whalen led the Gophers to their only Final Four and is the second-highest point scorer in program history behind Rachel Banham. Debbie Hunter, who also has her jersey retired, wore No. 13, too.
“I am honored that my jersey hangs in the rafters of Williams Arena and am grateful for the impact the U has had on my life,” she said in a release. ‘Moving forward, however, I would like to have the No. 13 available for others that come to the university and represent the Gophers on the court.”
Katie Borowicz, Maggie Czinano and Alanna Micheaux made their commitment to the University official earlier this week, signing National Letters of Intent to join the Gophers beginning next season. The first two signed on Wednesday, and Micheaux signed a day later.
ESPN has point guard Borowicz, a four-star recruit from Roseau,, as the 98th-ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class. Czinano, who attends Watertown-Mayer High School, is a guard, and Micheaux is a 6-foot-2 power forward from Michigan.
“This trio brings us three extremely unselfish players who are willing to fill whatever role they need to in order to bring continued success to our program,” Whalen said in a release. “They bring us dynamic skills on the court, as well as team-first personalities off it.”