STrib: Kent Youngblood's U Women's Hoops Mail Bag

Ignatius L Hoops

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Q. When will we see Whalen recruit a physical, dominant post presence?
None of the above is likely the “dominant’’ player being asked about. But there is talent here. And depth, something Whalen didn’t have much of in the post last season.
Q. What do you think the Gophers women’s starting five looks like for next season based on what you know right now?
Youngblood has: Powell, Scalia, Hubbard, Sissoko and:

At center? This is the toughest call. How much will Klarke Sconiers improve from her freshman year? Will Nebraska transfer Kayla Mershon become eligible? We have yet to see four-star post recruit, Erin Hedman from Wisconsin, in a Gophers uniform.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Kent Youngblood:

Three starters return, and two — point guard Jasmine Powell and wing Sara Scalia — were Big Ten all-freshman selections. Gadiva Hubbard, a prolific three-point shooter last season, also returns.

The Gophers should be able to score. It remains to be seen how Whalen will make up for the loss of Taiye and Kehinde Bello; Taiye Bello was one of the Big Ten’s best rebounders the past two seasons. Defending in the post and providing a viable offensive threat in the paint are issues that will need solving.


Youngblood updates his projected starting five and takes a look at the Gopher roster. The projected starters are: Powell, Scalia, Hubbard, Sissoko and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich-maybe:

Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, F, 6-0 senior

A transfer coming home. A former Holy Angels standout who started 50 of 52 games at Cornell and averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals, shooting 45.6%.

Outlook: Will vie for significant playing time and could start against bigger teams, especially in the physical Big Ten.
 

bball_craz_26

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I think Sissoko and Bagwell-Katalinich would struggle in the rough and tough Big Ten if they are the starters. If they have Sconiers, Mershon, Hedman that are bigger bodies, one of them simply for the size should be starting Center.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I'm guessing a starting lineup of Powell, Hubbard, Scalia, Sissoko and Smith with Strande coming off the bench early.

Although; if Mershon is eligible, she'll probably start and Smith would come off the bench. I'm hoping Erin Hedman can get up and down the court because, in addition to depth, we really need mobility at the post position. The Blanket Lady was quicker base line to base line than most of our post subs last season.
 

thatjanelpick

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Some of these line-ups are pretty close to five-guard line-ups, including Youngblood's (although, since he doesn't know how to spell Sissoko...). I'm with you, Ignatius, in thinking Mershon starts if she's available and, if not, the Gophers need Hedman available fast. Otherwise, I guess Sconiers starts and plays only in three-minute spurts? Taiye is going to be tough to replace, in other words.
 

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His list doesnt have Woodard and I'd expect her to play a decent amount at either pf or c. I was thinking Bagwell Katalinich would start at pf but Youngbloods probably got good sources with his Sissoko prediction. Powell Scalia Hubbard seem like obvious starters, then Sissoko or Bagwell-Katalinich at pf, both of these players should play solid minutes no matter who starts, center is interesting Woodard Mershon Sconiers are the most likely candidates i think but theres also Hedman and Cumming to compete for playing time.
 

CutDownTheNet

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I'm guessing a starting lineup of Powell, Hubbard, Scalia, Sissoko and Smith with Strande coming off the bench early.

Although; if Mershon is eligible, she'll probably start and Smith would come off the bench. I'm hoping Erin Hedman can get up and down the court because, in addition to depth, we really need mobility at the post position. The Blanket Lady was quicker base line to base line than most of our post subs last season.
I suppose we could start Blanket Lady via some fanciful NCAA exception, but then who would carry the blanket?
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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More Youngblood Lineup Musing:

Q If we're expecting to have the Gophers' deepest roster in Lindsay Whalen's three years, ideally what would be the rotation number? Eight deep? Is 9-10 doable and keep everybody happy with playing time?
...I believe incoming point guard Alexia Smith will get good minutes as Jasmine Powell's backup. I think incoming combo guard Caroline Strande will work into the rotation; she's one of the highest-scoring players in Wisconsin girls' basketball history. In the post, Klarke Sconiers finished her freshman season strong and Erin Hedman comes in highly touted. Graduate transfer Laura Bagwell-Katalinich is a proven player. So: It's not out of the question the Gophers could, some nights, go as deep as 10.
 

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Does he have a separate article where he gives his starting lineup, because from this article you’re left guessing other than Powell as starting PG. Who is his starting center?

I’d love to be deep enough that Scalia comes off the bench in her true position as a SG. Then have Sissoko as the starting SF. Do the Gophers have enough post talent coming in to pull that off??
 

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Does he have a separate article where he gives his starting lineup, because from this article you’re left guessing other than Powell as starting PG. Who is his starting center?

I’d love to be deep enough that Scalia comes off the bench in her true position as a SG. Then have Sissoko as the starting SF. Do the Gophers have enough post talent coming in to pull that off??

In Previous articles, he hasn't given his Starting five. All he has given is Powell, Hubbard, Scalia and Sissoko starting. He hasn't picked a C that I have seen.

I'm curious how come Hedman is usually listed as an option as I thought she was pegged for 3/4 stretch forward role. I think if Mershon is available, it will be between her and Sconiers. Bagwell-Katalinich and Woodard likely the depth behind them at forward/post. I think Scalia plays SG already and Hubbard plays the SF. my way too early lineup thoughts are likely

C: Scorners/Mershon/Woodard (Woodard backup if Mershon sits a year)
PF: Sissoko/Bagwell-Kat/Hedman
SF: Hubbard (any combination of Sissoko, Bagwell-Kat or Scalia filling in his position at times)
SG: Scalia/Strande
PG: Powell/Smith

May also see minutes of Powell and Smith together with Smith at SG.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Does he have a separate article where he gives his starting lineup, because from this article you’re left guessing other than Powell as starting PG. Who is his starting center?

I’d love to be deep enough that Scalia comes off the bench in her true position as a SG. Then have Sissoko as the starting SF. Do the Gophers have enough post talent coming in to pull that off??
His earlier projected starters (the article was previously posted in this thread): Powell, Scalia, Hubbard, Sissoko and Laura Bagwell-Katalinich-maybe. (He kinda talked himself into Bagwell-Katalinich.
 

Ragnor

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This is how I see the lineups:

Most Common Lineup
C: Woodard/Sconiers/Hedman/Barbora (alt. Sissoko, Cumming)
PF: Bagwell-Katalinich/Mershon/Cumming (alt. Sissoko/Hedman)
SF: Hubbard/Sissoko/Ross (alt. Bagwell-Katalinich/Cumming/Strande)
SG: Scalia/Strande/ (alt. Ross, Sissoko)
PG: Powell/Smith (alt. Scalia)

The following is my rationale;
Woodard is the most experienced center as well as very athletic and has performed at a high levle in Junior college. Mershon is the next most experienced and has the most in Division 1. Sconiers is currently the next most promising player. I would like to see Barbora play more but in my opinion I think she plays too many mind games with herself, she often looks very upset she just needs to loosen up some. If Barbora can improve her abysmal 3pt. shot that would really open things up for her. I think her biggest problem with her 3 is that it looks like it is shot out of a cannon with absolutely no arc. I only see someone else starting if raw size is the most important need in the game.

PF:
Bag-Kat is by far the most experienced and proven performer. She will be absolutely GOLD for her on the court performance and the teaching she can do for the front court. I only see her NOT starting at PF if they need to go big or most athletic.

SF:
Hubbard is the ROCK! here and they will depend on her for her experience and reliability to perform. I only see this changing if someone beats her out as the season progresses or they need to go big or athletic.

SG:
Scalia, most experience and proven track record

PG:
Powell most experience and proven track record

Size Lineup:
C: Sconiers/Hedman/Woodard/Sissoko/Barbora
PF: Sissoko/Mershon/Bagwell-Katalinich/Cumming
SF: Bagwell-Katalinich/Ross/Hubbard/ (alt. Sissoko/Cumming/Strande)
SG: Strande/Scalia (alt. Ross, Sissoko)
PG: Smith/Powell (alt. Scalia)

Athletic/Speed lineup:
C: Woodard/Sconiers/Hedman/Barbora (alt. Sissoko, Cumming)
PF: Sissoko/Bagwell-Katalinich/Mershon/Cumming
SF: Ross/Hubbard/ (alt. Bagwell-Katalinich/Cumming/)
SG: Scalia/Strande/ (alt. Ross, Sissoko)
PG: Powell/Smith (alt. Scalia)

I see Sissoko is our Swiss Army knife who will get significan minutes all over the court and Hubbard and Bagwell-Katalinich as the team's glue and leadership.

This is probably oversimplified but relies on limited knowledge about the new incoming players strengths and weeknesses. Where do you think I errored?
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Another edition of Kent's Mail Bag:
Q. I know the team will be deeper in the upcoming season. But can it compete to be an upper-tier Big Ten team and make the NCAA playoffs?

A.
It can. In my opinion, here’s what has to happen:

*Defense. The Gophers showed last year they can score. And there is a lot of scoring coming back in Gadiva Hubbard, Jasmine Powell and Sara Scalia.

But the defense has to improve. The Gophers need to finish in the top half of the Big Ten in points allowed, defensive field goal percentage and, especially, in defensive rebounding.

Defense in the post has to improve as well, something that could happen with the improvement of Klarke Sconiers and the addition of graduate transfer Laura Bagwell-Katalinich and junior college transfer Daja Woodard.

*Powell and Scalia have to take the next step. The Gophers will be looking for Sconiers to take a big step from her freshman season.

*Kadi Sissoko needs to be the player the Gophers expect her to be. Sissoko sat out last season after transferring. The Gophers staff is very high on Sissoko, who will add size and length to the Gophers starting lineup.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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This month's musings from Youngblood with the most interesting being:


Is there a timetable for a return to on-camups workouts?

A. It appears there is a tentative one, yes, though on-campus facilities are still closed. The team is expected to come back June 25, where they will then quarantine. Then two things have to happen. The facilities have to be opened. And the NCAA has to approve mandatory workouts, which would allow coaches to be present. If that happens, the team hopes to start workouts July 1.
 
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