With programs such as the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State back in the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament, 26 players who call Minnesota home will be competing in the upcoming tournament.
This number is up from 21 a season ago. The Golden Gophers' first appearance since 2015 means three Minnesota natives — Kenisha Bell, Bryanna Fernstrom and Carlie Wagner — will play in the tournament.
"I think the Gophers having success helps the sport here a lot," said Mark Cook, Maple Grove girls' basketball coach and president of the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association. "The work the Gophers, Lynx and other programs here do reaching out to the programs here really legitimizes us."
The Jackrabbits are back in the tournament after missing the cut in 2017. South Dakota State has the most Minnesotans with six on its roster.
Drake comes in with three Minnesota natives. The Bulldogs are a No. 5 seed in the tournament after winning the Missouri Valley Conference.
But though the local programs continue to thrive with Minnesota talent, some of the state's finest are contributing to other programs around the nation. Braham High School alum Rebekah Dahlman helps led DePaul to the tournament after the Blue Demons won the Big East tournament.
"If you look at the teams in this year's state tournament in all of the classes, there are a lot of scholarship players there," said Cook, who led the Crimson to this year's Class 4A state tourney. "It has created a lot of competitiveness. The games are really fun to watch."
With the talent on the girls' side continuing to increase, exposure follows. And with players coming up such as Hopkins sophomore Paige Bueckers, who has attracted the attention of top programs such as Connecticut, more eyes in the college game will be on the state.
"Minnesota girls' basketball is as good as it has ever been," Cook said. "The game is really growing here. And with these top AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) teams we have, Minnesota girls are getting noticed."
--Ryan Williamson, SportsEngine
|Rebekah Dahlman||DePaul||5||G||Braham, MN||Braham||Grad Student|
|Jolene Daninger||DePaul||5||G||Andover, MN||Andover||Freshman|
|Maddie Monahan||Drake||5||G||Silver Lake, MN||Glencoe-Silver Lake||Freshman|
|Maddy Dean||Drake||5||G||Jordan, MN||Jordan||Redshirt Junior|
|Monica Burich||Drake||5||F||Roseville, MN||Roseville||Redshirt Sophomore|
|Chase Coley||Iowa||6||F||Minneapolis, MN||Minneapolis Washburn||Senior|
|Kiara Russell||Arizona State||7||G||Minneapolis, MN||Osseo||Sophomore|
|Jamie Ruden||Arizona State||7||F||Rochester, MN||Rochester John Marshall||Sophomore|
|Lyndsey Robson||Green Bay||7||G/F||Burnsville, MN||Apple Valley||Freshman|
|Samantha Trammel||Michigan||7||F||Minnetonka, MN||Eastview||Junior|
|Alexis Alexander||South Dakota State||8||G||Brooklyn Park, MN||Champlin Park||Senior|
|Ellie Thompson||South Dakota State||8||F||Chaska, MN||Chaska||Senior|
|Madison Guebert||South Dakota State||8||G||Apple Valley, MN||Eastview||Junior|
|Lindsey Theuninck||South Dakota State||8||G||Mankato, MN||Mankato Loyola||Freshman|
|Tiffaney Flaata||South Dakota State||8||F||Savage, MN||Prior Lake||Senior|
|Sydney Tracy||South Dakota State||8||G||St. Michael, MN||St. Michael-Albertville||Sophomore|
|Kenisha Bell||Minnesota||10||G||Minneapolis, MN||Bloomington Kennedy||Redshirt Junior|
|Bryanna Fernstrom||Minnesota||10||C||Center City, MN||Chisago Lakes||Senior|
|Carlie Wagner||Minnesota||10||G||New Richland, MN||New Richland-Harland-Ellendale-Geneva||Senior|
|Janay Morton||Nebraska||10||G||Brooklyn Park, MN||Osseo||Redshirt Senior|
|Abby Kain||Northern Colorado||10||F||Inver Grove Heights, MN||Simley||Sophomore|
|Bailey Norby||Creighton||11||F||Forest Lake, MN||Forest Lake||Senior|
|Temi Carda||Creighton||11||G||Lakeville, MN||Lakeville North||Freshman|
|Ali Greene||Creighton||11||F||Mahtomedi, MN||Mahtomedi||Redshirt Sophomore|
|Sydney Lamberty||Creighton||11||G||Cottage Grove, MN||Park||Senior|
|Kylie Brown||Creighton||11||F||Inver Grove Heights, MN||Simley||Senior|
|Lela Sellers||Liberty||14||G/F||Lakeville, MN||Lakeville South||Sophomore|
*Players are considered Minnesotans if their listed hometown is in the state.
Tag(s): Featured Hub Exclusive Big Nine Rochester John Marshall Gopher New Richland-Hartland-Ellendal Great River Braham Metro East Mahtomedi Simley Metro West Chaska Bloomington Kennedy Minneapolis City Minneapolis Washburn Minnesota River Jordan Mississippi 8 Chisago Lakes St. Michael-Albertville Northwest Suburban Northwest Suburban - North Champlin Park Northwest Suburban - West Osseo South Suburban Apple Valley Eastview Lakeville North Lakeville South Prior Lake Suburban East Forest Lake Park of Cottage Grove Roseville Valley Wright County Wright County West Glencoe-Silver Lake Nicollet/Mankato Loyola