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Whalen's Gophers start season Wednesday with only 7 players available

Whalen isn't happy that a transfer wasn't granted immediate eligibility to play.

Conditioning will be a key to the first week or so of the Gopher women's basketball season as they'll open the season with only seven players available, a spokesperson for the team confirmed Monday. 

Head coach Lindsay Whalen first told the Star Tribune about the limited roster availability, saying the players who are available will have to "fight through some times of real adversity." 

The seven healthy players at Whalen's disposal for Wednesday's 2 p.m. game against Eastern Illinois are: 

  • Jasmine Powell (guard)
  • Gadiva Hubbard (guard)
  • Kadi Sissoka (forward)
  • Erin Hedman (forward)
  • Justice Ross (forward)
  • Grace Cumming (forward)
  • Klarke Sconiers (center)

"We'll go into this week with 7. Possibly Sunday, maybe a couple additions," Whalen said Tuesday. "The players they'll be excited they get to play. That's where we're at. I feel good about the players we have ready to play, obviously I'd feel better if we had everybody." 

Minnesota would have eight players available had the NCAA granted a waiver request for immediate eligibility for Kayla Mershon. Mershon is from Minnetonka and transferred to to the Gophers after playing two years at Nebraska. 

"We're going to have someone who's healthy sitting there watching," she said. "I'm not happy right now with that." 

Similar situations with the Gopher men's team saw waiver requests granted by the NCAA for Minnesota native Both Gach (transfer from Utah) and Drake (Iowa) transfer Liam Robbins. 

Players out due to injury or illness are sophomore guard Sara Scalia, freshman guard Alexia Smith, senior forward Laura Bagwell-Katalinich and freshman guard Caroline Strande.

Scalia was an All-Big Ten freshman guard who hit 59 threes last season, and Smith's absence is a big one considering she is a five-star recruit.

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