Meet the 2019-20 Newcomers

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Meet Masha Adashchyk:

Up first, it's Masha Adashchyk, A 5'11 guard from Minsk, Belarus. She spent the last two seasons playing for Panola College in Carthage, Texas, where she averaged 12.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per contest in her two seasons and helped the Fillies reach the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship in her freshman campaign. What was life like growing up in Belarus?
Masha Adashchyk: "It was like everybody's. I had my parents, I went to school. I had played basketball since I was 10 or maybe I was 11. For Americans that's probably pretty late, but a lot of girls usually start at this age when they play basketball in Belarus. It started just like some hobby; I didn't think I would be a professional or something, but my coach was different. He was a fan of basketball, every day he was teaching us. He didn't actually have a good salary for this -- he was working at a different job -- but at the same time he was spending every day with us for a few hours, so I really appreciate him for that."

GS: Was the main reason why you came to America for basketball?
MA: "I would say it was because of basketball. I had heard from an early age of 12 or 13 that basketball in America was really cool and amazing, and our coach has shown us NBA games and WNBA games and just telling us about it, but it just wasn't real when someone would just tell you about it. But when it actually happened, it's been my dream to come to America I would say, so when I actually got my visa, I actually started crying because I couldn't believe it happened. I applied for all of the documents for Panola College, and I had been working on it since like April, and then for all of this to actually make a visa and for me to have it, I was just like 'wow,' so I called my parents and stuff like that. My mom was happy for me, but she didn't want me to go so far from home. My dad was really happy, he wanted me to go as far as I can and to go where I need to do what I want. It was a dream come true."

GS: Did it take time to adjust to American life?
MA: "I actually came to America two years before coming here to play basketball, it was also because of basketball. We had this social program called Strong Women, and every year we change sports, that year in 2015 it was basketball, so all the players from the country that were girls would come in and take part in different events, take classes. On this trip we went to the Final Four in Tampa, Fla., and it was amazing. It was actually the first time I had actually seen Division I basketball, and I was very excited about it, but also very surprised because when you just hear about it it's one thing, but when you actually see it it's completely different. I understand why the national team of America is one of the best in the world, because even just the kids from universities play better than our professional players in Belarus. So I was just comparing them and thinking, 'wow, I know where I need to go.'

I was already thinking about going to America at that time, like after the trip I really wanted to do it, but I just didn't know how. So that's why it took me three years to finally come to America. The transition was pretty easy in some ways, because we have a lot of international students in Panola, like basketball players, so I was with them and it was helpful. It's taken me awhile to understand people better. I didn't understand people at the beginning, but my language has gotten better and better with every day when I was here. Texas has very friendly people, it's almost like crazy for me. But I just adjusted and became the same way. I really started to socialize better with people. It was really good."

GS: How was your experience at Panola?
MA: "Yes, I liked it there. People were always ready to help and did help, I found a lot of friends, I found my American family there. I liked moving on from there because it was really small, like 6,000 people, I was just bored. It's really different here because I can just go somewhere and do something, and not just go two houses down and three minutes away. I can actually see something new, environment, literature. Minnesota is very similar to Belarus, which is what I like. Texas I didn't see snow, well I did, but after one day it was gone. Here I get to see real snow."

GS: You scored 50 points in your final game at Panola. What was going on that night?
MA: "I didn't expect it. It was like, if we win we go on to the next game, if we lose we're done, and I was a sophomore, so for me it was my last game. I was just trying my best to give myself to the game, and I wouldn't say I was playing a different style than I usually do, but that game everything was just working and the defenders just couldn't stop me. I was going to the basket so easily and making shots. It was really sad because we ended up losing in overtime, and I cried. I would say on one hand it's a nice way to end my career at Panola, but on the other hand that loss was just really sad."

GS: So leaving Panola, how did you end up here at Minnesota?
MA: "I like the coaches. I mean, Lindsay Whalen, of course everybody mentions her, and I was excited when I found out who was the head coach here. I really liked her when we spoke on the phone, I just really liked it. I remember our first conversation and she was just like, 'Hello, how are you?' but in Russian, and I definitely did not expect that. I knew she played in Russia but I never thought she could actually speak Russian, so I was just like, 'Okay, I can work with this.' I really like the other coaches, too. I was really close with Coach Danielle [O'Banion] because she was actually the person who found me and introduced me to the team.

"I like the atmosphere here, I like that it's a big school, I like where this school is, I like my connection with the coaches. Another thing I really like about Minnesota is that they all have a very high goal. Our goal is the national tournament, so we will work for this. A lot of schools would tell me, you'll be able to play here a lot, we need you. For me, that's something I already knew. You wouldn't try to sign my if you didn't need me. But here, they told me it would be harder for me to play here. I feel like that's better for me as a player, I like that challenge. I want to prove myself. Of course I will have new friends, I will have a new family, this will be my new family, but I want to challenge myself. It will make me stronger and I have a goal to play pro, so this will be really helpful."

GS: How would you describe yourself as a player?
MA: "I would say I'm a team player, but I will take my chance to go to the basket. I will try my best, I will play aggressive, maybe sometimes too aggressive, but I will give myself to the game and I will show what I can and I will help my team to win. I support my team, but I'm not the player who's excited to sit on the bench. I want to be out there, I want to play. That's why this is such a big challenge, because there are so many good players and you need to show what you can do better."


Active member
If Masha is a transfer with two years of college BB experience, how can she be eligible to play this season? Just curious, she looks like a good addition to the team.

Never mind, it was JC experience.... I get it now.
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Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Meet Jasmine Powell :

Up next, it's Jasmine Powell, a 5'6 guard from Detroit, Mich., who was a four-star recruit, the 78th player overall in the class and the 23rd-ranked point guard in the class, according to ESPN. She helped lead her high school, Detroit Country Day, to back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018. A three-time all-state honoree, Powell averaged 18.4 points, 8.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds as a senior. What was your recruiting process like?
Jasmine Powell: "It was a little hectic because it was in and out at times. My freshman year and sophomore years were a little slow, and then my junior year I ended up having a big summer in AAU. That was when all the offers started coming. But the most hectic part about it was the all the coaches around the country and having to know everybody and pick which ones you really like."

GS: What made you decide on Minnesota?
JP: "It mainly had to do with my personal goals, which are to win an NCAA championship and eventually go to the WNBA. I just felt like Coach Lindsay (Whalen) was the person that could do that for me, especially with her background of playing in the WNBA and since I'm a point guard. I just felt like that connection would be there, as well."

GS: You were high school teammates with Destiny Pitts. How big of a role did she play in you coming here?
JP: "She played a big role because everyone wants to go to a school where you know somebody because going there and not knowing anyone can be nerve-racking. Knowing that she was here and was going to be able to help me transition and teach me the ropes early on, that was a good thing for me because I knew I was going to need it, especially knowing what I wanted to do."

GS: Has she done that for you?
JP: "Yeah, big time. Whenever we need to know what's going on, especially when the coaches don't say specifically what you're supposed to be doing, she'll tell me. I think she's really been big for this team."

GS: What do you remember about being teammates with her?
JP: "For us, we always that good coordination and that good chemistry. I think from AAU to Country Day to now, it's just there. All I know is that she's always going to be the one to make the big shots, and she knows that I can be the one to get to the ball, too, so it's like we already know."

GS: As someone who wants to go to the next level, what's it been like been like to be coached by Lindsay Whalen?
JP: "At first I was nervous but I think everyone might be, but as you keep practicing and getting her input you really start to put it into your game and you see that you can change and she knows exactly what she's talking about. If you just listen to her, that's the key. Just keep listening and take what she says and put it into your game."

GS: Have you seen your game grow since getting here?
JP: "Yeah, I think the things she teaches, along with what the assistant coaches teach, are very crucial to surviving here because using what they say is how you'll stay up and stay moving. For my game personally, I think I've seen a lot of change from what I had been doing to now, defensively and offensively."

GS: How has the adjustment been to college life?
JP: "I don't think college was this foreign thing to me since my high school was kind of like college, it was a college preparatory school with the class schedules and all the free time. Being away from family is definitely one of the big differences, but college life is right now is going pretty well. I think I'm adjusting well."

GS: How would you describe your game?
JP: "I think I'm the player that gets the job done. I don't specify which type of role I play, I just do whatever needs to be done; I can do it. Offensively I'm a floor general, I see the floor and try to get everyone the ball. I always go by the saying 'an assist is just as good as two points,' and I think that's how I've flourished all this time by not being a selfish player and being a team player. Winning is a part of that."

GS: Is there any significance to you jersey number?
JP: "At first I chose No. 4 because my birthday is on April 4, and growing up I stuck with it. Then watching WNBA players like Skylar Diggins wear No. 4, I just like the number."

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Justice Ross:

Up next, it's Justice Ross, a 6'0 forward from Des Moines, Iowa, who was a three-star recruit and the 33rd-ranked wing in the class, according to ESPN. A two-time first-team all-conference honoree, she posted 15.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.6 steals per game in her senior season. Going through your recruiting process, how did you decide Minnesota was the school for you?
Justice Ross: "I remember Coach Carly (Thibault-DuDonis) called me first and said they were interested; they had seen me play in an AAU tournament, I believe. I think I then got invited to a practice, so I came up here and really liked it. I really liked the staff and loved the way they coached. I really liked the players, too; they made you feel welcomed. It became official when I took my official visit. I knew I loved it here; they're like a family. I loved the area, too; I love Minneapolis. So that's what really drew me here. I just loved the team."

GS: You and fellow freshman Grace Cumming are both from Des Moines. Did you two know each other growing up?
JR: "We've been playing together since the fourth grade, so we've known each other for a while. I was looking at a few other places when she was getting recruited here, but I hadn't been recruited by Minnesota at that point. I came up here on a visit with her and she was really pushing it, of course, since we had been best friends since we were young. It's really cool to have her here."

GS: Did you ever think you two would end up playing college ball together?
JR: "Absolutely not. I never thought we'd end up together. I'm happy we did, but it has surprised me."

GS: Did the fact that she was coming here sway you at all to come here too?
JR: "Honestly, not really. I loved it here, regardless, but it does help that she's here and she's my roommate."

GS: How has it been going so far here at Minnesota?
JR: "It's definitely tough, but it's worth it. It's hard work, and it's a different pace at this level, but it's worth it. It's a family, and they made me feel welcomed right away. At first I was homesick, but I'm actually not even as homesick as I thought I would be."

GS: What's helped you not be homesick anymore?
JR: "The coaches and my teammates. They really help a lot, because if I didn't have them I'd be homesick. It's really like a family and I think that's helped."

GS: Have any of the upperclassmen been like a mentor to you?
JR: "Yeah, a lot of them have helped me. Since I'm a guard, a lot of the guards have helped more, so I'd say that Jasmine (Brunson) is a really good leader. Destiny (Pitts) and Gadiva (Hubbard), too. Everyone has been helpful but those three have definitely helped a lot."

GS: What's it been like to have Lindsay Whalen as your head coach?
JR: "It's super cool because knowing someone has been through all this, you really listen even more. She explains stuff really well."

GS: How would you describe yourself as a player?
JR: "I would say I'm a team player. I'm humble, I'm versatile and I'm a competitor."

GS: Is there any significance to your jersey number?
JR: "My number in high school was No. 20, but Kehinde (Bello) has it here so I changed it to No. 24. But I like that number also because my favorite player ever is Kobe Bryant."

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Grace Cumming:

Up next, it's Grace Cumming, a 6'3 forward from Des Moines, Iowa, who was a three-star recruit and the 42nd-ranked post player in the class, according to ESPN. A two-time all-conference honoree during her high school career, she posted 11.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest in her senior season. What was your recruiting process like?
Grace Cumming: "Well I was recruited for both basketball and volleyball, so that was interesting. It was a long process and started pretty early. I had my first offer before high school had even started and I committed the fall of my junior year. I didn't really like the recruiting process very much; it was stressful and overwhelming. And then with being part of two sports, it felt everything was doubled."

GS: How did you decide between basketball and volleyball?
GC: "For me it wasn't really about the sport, it was about the school and the team. With Minnesota, what did it for me is that it was a family-feel here. I love Minneapolis, it's a good distance from home, and then all those other factors just led me to basketball. I love both, though."

GS: How has it been going so far at Minnesota?
GC: "It's been really good. I love it here. The girls and the coaches are great. The workouts are tough but that was to be expected. But yeah, I love it here."

GS: What's been the most eye-opening thing for you so far?
GC: "I'd say everything is just at a much faster pace all the time. And way more intense all the time."

GS: What's it been like to play for Lindsay Whalen?
GC: "It's so cool, just knowing what she's accomplished and all the basketball knowledge she has, that we get to learn from her. She's somebody that knows basketball like that and knows how to win like that, it's just really cool."

GS: What's the adjustment been like to being a college student?
GC: "I'd say it's been a pretty good adjustment for me. I'm roommates with Justice (Ross) and I've known her since the fourth or fifth grade so it's like rooming with a sister. I miss my parents but I'm not super homesick, and we're close enough that they've come up already to see me. So I wouldn't say it's been too hard of an adjustment, just being away from home."

GS: Tell us more about your relationship with Justice Ross.
GC: "We started playing AAU together around the fourth or fifth grade and then were either playing with or against each other throughout AAU. Our high schools are actually rivals for girls' basketball, so it's always really fun to play against her. But now we get to be teammates, which is awesome."

GS: You committed to Minnesota before her, so did you try to sway her to come here?
GC: "Oh, of course. We came up for Elite Camp last summer, and that's when she picked up her offer. I was pushing her during the whole time, but I understood that she wanted to look at her other options. She came up for a visit and a few days before I texted her this whole long thing of why it should be Minnesota. So she committed then later, but I was definitely pulling for the Gophers."

GS: What were you saying in your pitch to her?
GC: "We're very similar so the family atmosphere and the girls that are here, I knew she would like them because I like them. I knew it would be a good fit for her and what she would like since we know each other very well. But I just touched on everything, like how you get a great basketball experience with these people but you get a great education and get to be in the city, stuff like that."

GS: What players have been mentors for you so far on and off the court?
GC: "I would say Destiny (Pitts), she's obviously a really friendly person so she's made sure that all the freshmen are feeling included and doing well. On the court, I feel like it's been Jasmine Brunson. She's super vocal, always talking to us and letting us know what's going on. She's a really great leader on the court."

GS: How would you describe yourself as a player?
GC: "I'm someone who gets rebounds and sets screens, very much a team player. I'll work wherever, but I do like working from the high post the most. But I'll go down low or I can step out and hit a 3-pointer."

GS: Does your jersey number carry any significance?
GC: "Yeah, my dad wore No. 43 in high school so I've always had that number because of him."

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Klarke Sconiers:

I like this quote: "I get on the boards, look to attack and I really look to instill dominance with rebounding and blocking shots."

Up next, it's Klarke Sconiers, a 6'2 center from Queens, N.Y., who was a three-star recruit and the 18th-ranked post player in the class, according to ESPN. She was named first-team all-state as a senior as she helped lead her team to a state title by averaging 11.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. You went to Christ the King High School in New York that boasts famous alumnae like Sue Bird and Chamique Holdsclaw. What's it like going to a school with such a tradition?
Klarke Sconiers: "Just knowing it was a mecca for girls' basketball drew me into it. Going there and talking to the coaching staff they talked about the previous players and what they accomplished, so I was really motivated to go there and make a legacy for myself."

GS: What was your recruiting process like?
KS: "I started kind of late because I switched AAU teams late in my junior year. Once I started playing with my new team, my recruitment opened up a lot more and I started talking to a lot of schools. By September I had narrowed it down to Auburn, Illinois and Minnesota."

GS: What made you choose Minnesota?
KS: "The coaching staff and how they talked about wanting to start a new culture and build something here."

GS: How's your experience been so far?
KS: "It's good, just getting acclimated to the collegiate level and getting used to the pace and everything. I think everything is going pretty smoothly, though. The coaching staff is nice. One thing I can say about them is they're genuine. Some of my friends have gone to other schools and they get there and it's totally different. I really like the fact that here what you see is what you get and they continue to push you to attain your goals."

GS: What's it like playing for Lindsay Whalen?
KS: "It's been awesome. I remember watching her play for the Lynx and seeing all her accolades. Just having somebody be your coach that has accomplished everything you want to and tell you they see so much potential in you and compare you to great players, that just instills a different amount of confidence in you and takes it to the next level."

GS: What's the adjustment been like being as college student?
KS: "Definitely just getting used to the fact that when you go to college you're really on your own. You're responsible for prioritizing and managing; making sure you're getting things taken care of on and off the court."

GS: Have you found that to be easy or difficult?
KS: "I think when everything started out slow and practices were about the fundamentals and classes were just introductions, but now everything has picked up and I'm getting used to the pace of everything. I'd say things are going smoothly with the transition."

GS: How would you describe yourself as a player?
KS: "I would say I'm a really hard worker. I get on the boards, look to attack and I really look to instill dominance with rebounding and blocking shots. Defense is something I take pride in. I'd also say I'm a high-energy player, a lot of and-one screaming."

GS: Have there been any players you've leaned on for guidance so far?
KS: "Kehinde (Bello) with her playing my position and being able to look up to her and model what she does. (Destiny) Pitts, just being a leader and telling me to trust in the process, and Jasmine Brunson, she's from New York, too, so she understands the transition and stuff and explaining things to me around here. And Gadiva (Hubbard) has been there to help me find places and help trust the process."

GS: Did you know Jasmine Brunson before coming here?
KS: "When I was a freshman she was a senior at Mary Louis, so I had seen her play before but we didn't really talk until I got here."

GS: Does your jersey number carry any significance?
KS: "Yeah, 25 is my mom's birthday and I had it since I was really young. I changed my number to 31 this AAU season, but she was telling me how nice it would be to switch back so I figured why not finish out what I started with."

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member

Sara Scalia: I liked her comment about looking up to Destiny Pitts.

Up next, it's Sara Scalia, a 5'10 guard from Stillwater, Minn., who was a three-star recruit and the 56th-ranked guard in the class, according to ESPN. She was a two-time all-state selection and was named the Pioneer Press East Metro Girls Basketball Player of the Year as a senior after recording 22.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals per contest while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent on free throws. Were you a Gophers fan growing up?
Sara Scalia: "Yeah, I've always watched the Gophers and went to games since I was younger because I grew up here."

GS: How much familiarity or interaction had you had with Lindsay Whalen?
Scalia: "The first time we talked was right when she got the job, and then I went on my visit and then committed. Obviously we talked more after that."

GS: Did you watch her play for the Lynx?
Scalia: "Oh yeah, my family has had two courtside season tickets for like eight years, so we've been watching them for a while."

GS: What do you remember about watching her play and was she someone you looked up to?
Scalia: "I definitely looked up to her because I was a point guard in high school and so was she. I just remember how competitive she was and how hard she worked and how well the team worked together."

GS: What was it like playing in Williams Arena last year in the state high school tournament?
Scalia: "It was definitely kind of nerve-racking at first because I was already committed so everyone was talking about how I was playing on my 'home court,' but it was surreal to play on that court and knowing I'd have four more years to play there, too."

GS: What was your recruiting process like?
Scalia: "I had been offered by the previous coaching staff here, and once Coach Whalen came she said she wanted to continue my offer. I played AAU at Boo Williams and she saw me play there and really technically offered me then. I went on a visit a couple days later and that was really good so I committed a day after that."

GS: What drew you to playing here?
Scalia: "My teammates really welcomed me in at first; that was a really big thing and they made me feel at home. And obviously it's my home state so I wanted to represent here and my family and friends would be able to come to games. The coaching staff was super nice, and they have big goals on where they want to go in the future."

GS: As a Minnesotan, what does it mean to play here?
Scalia: "It means a lot. You know you have a lot on your shoulders because I'm the only one from Minnesota on the roster, but I just need to keep working hard and do my best to represent my home state."

GS: How did summer workouts go for you?
Scalia: "I thought it was good. I ran track to finish out my high school career so I was coming into it in pretty good shape, so that helped a lot. I thought the team really came together and welcomed in the freshmen really well, too."

GS: What's it been like playing under Coach Whalen?
Scalia: "It's been good. She knows the game, so I trust whatever she and the coaching staff has to say."

GS: Have there been any returning players that have been like mentors to you?
Scalia: "Destiny (Pitts) is one I really look up to a lot. She was Big Ten Freshman of the Year and last year she had a good year, so I look up to her a lot. Right from my first visit she's been super nice and welcomed me in. But she's also been really honest with me, like if I had a bad practice she'd tell me what I can do better."

GS: How would you describe yourself as a player?
Scalia: "I would say "catch-and-shoot" but I can also work off the dribble, too. I'm a shooter; I can get to the basket, but usually I like to draw the defender and then kick. For the most part I'm a shooter; I like to shoot 3's."

GS: Does your number have any significance?
Scalia: "It's the high school number I had through all four to five years I played varsity. High school was a really good experience for me and I met a lot of good teammates who will probably be my friends for a while since I'm staying here. I've gone through a lot with that number, so being able to keep it means a lot."

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