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Minnesotans in the NCAA Division I tournament

03/13/2017, 10:30pm CDT
By Jake Lunemann, SportsEngine

Twenty-one North Star State natives will grace the NCAA tournament this year.

After the announcement of the 2016-2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball March Madness bracket on Monday, there weren’t many signs of Minnesota with the Golden Gophers missing the tournament this year. 

But the North Star State still delivered 21 players to the NCAA tournament despite no in-state presence, with the largest group being six players for Creighton, which earned the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region. 

Watertown-Mayer’s Marissa Janning and Sydney Lamberty (Park of Cottage Grove) both start for the Bluejays and have played the most minutes (33.6 per game) as staples to the team. Janning has a second-best 11.5 points per game and is the leading distributor with 142 assists. Lamberty follows her with 132 assists and averages 8.9 ppg. 

St. Michael-Albertville head coach, Kent Hamre, a former president of the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association, has two former players playing at DI schools outside Minnesota. 

He’s watched the program’s all-time leading scorer and Miss Basketball candidate, Rae Johnson, grow over the years and develop into a top prospect bound for Iowa State next year. The Cyclones secured a nine seed this year in the East Region, and while he’s a Gophers fan first, he says he’ll be an Iowa State fan for the next four years. 

“I think there’s a lot of good basketball here and a lot to choose from. We’d like to see [prospects] stay as Golden Gophers, but there’s a lot of talented programs and options out there,” he said.

Minnesota has 26 seniors committed to play at Division I schools next year and 42 signed to play at the Division II level. The group of 72 players is the highest total of committed players in over a decade.

“There’s definitely a hotbed of talent here for girls basketball and other states are beginning to catch on,” Hamre said.

--Trevor Squire, SportsEngine

Name College Seed High School
Meghan Mandel Marquette 5 Orono
MC McGrory Creighton 7 Edina
Bailey Norby Creighton 7 Forest Lake
Ali Greene Creighton 7 Mahtomedi
Sydney Lamberty Creighton 7 Park
Kylie Brown Creighton 7 Simley
Marissa Janning Creighton 7 Watertown-Mayer
Jessica January DePaul 7 Richfield
Kiara Russell Arizona State 8 Osseo
Jamie Ruden Arizona State 8 Rochester John Marshall
Seanna Johnson Iowa State 9 DeLaSalle
TeeTee Starks Iowa State 9 Hopkins
Nia Hollie Michigan State 9 Hopkins
Maddy Dean Drake 10 Jordan
Taylor Hagen Northern Iowa 10 Blooming Prairie
Hannah Schonhardt Northern Iowa 10 Holy Family
Angie Davison Northern Iowa 10 Maple Grove
Michaela Rasmussen Toledo 10 Holy Family
Laura Bagwell-Katalinich Penn 12 Holy Angels
Riley Nordgaard Montana State 14 Canby
Ashley Bates Hampton 15 Hopkins

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