A talent infusion is hitting the Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball program with the addition of two five-star recruits: guard Alexia Smith and forward Kadi Sissoko.
Sissoko is a 6-foot-2 redshirt sophomore, Paris native and transfer from Syracuse in the 2018 recruiting class, and Smith is a 5-foot-8 true freshman guard from Columbus, Ohio, in the 2020 class. Together, they could help head coach Lindsay Whalen in a breakthrough third season.
After the Gophers’ first official practice on Wednesday, Whalen, who has a 37-26 record at Minnesota praised that pair but was careful not to go overboard.
“I think (Sissoko) can have a huge impact not only on our team but on the conference,” Whalen said. “I have to measure my expectations and I have to remember that she hasn’t played in two years, and so she is working and she is getting there. She is a great kid, great team locker-room person, so that has been fun just to see her grow into that as well.”
Powell gave her impressions of Sissoko and Smith. “I really think that Kadi’s length is going to be great for us. Alexia is really fast, as well. She is a great on-ball defender. … Driving is both of their best suits. Being able to help us in fast breaks and everything is going to be big for us.”