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minny: spread the floor and shoot more 3's...

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Gopher Women

Year Two for Whalen, the former Minnesota and Lynx star, technically begins Tuesday afternoon against Missouri State. About 500 people turned out at Williams Arena in mid-October for an open scrimmage against the team’s male practice players, a standard exercise with an unexpected result: The men won, 75-67, pulling away with a 10-3 closing run. 

Caught off guard, Whalen chose to emphasize the positives, like the return of guard Gadiva Hubbard from right foot surgery that kept her out all last season. “It wasn’t fun sitting on the bench at all,” Hubbard said. “I’m happy I can contribute while I’m on the court now.” Whalen also liked the post development of Kehinde Bello, the twin sister of teammate Taiye Bello, the Big Ten’s top returning rebounder.

After losing top scorer Kenisha Bell to the WNBA, Whalen wants her team to spread the floor and shoot more 3-pointers. Hubbard gives them an additional shooting threat along with All-Big Ten junior guard and top returning scorer Destiny Pitts (16.3 points per game). Expect the Gophers to start Bello in the middle with four guards around her, a small lineup that will need to scrap for rebounds. 
“Taiye is great, but everybody else is going to have to pick up the slack.” Whalen said. “We managed last year, so we’ll see. That’s kind of a work in progress.”

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