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Minnesotans in the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament

By Jake Lunemann, SportsEngine, 03/20/18, 9:15AM CDT

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Twenty-six North Star State natives will play on women's college basketball's biggest stage.

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

Name College Seed Position Hometown High School Year
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.

Click to view a list of Minnesotans in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

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