A shorthanded Minnesota team defeated Eastern Illinois 72-68 to open the season at Williams Arena. Kadiatou Sissoko led all scorers with 24 points.
The Gophers accomplished the two tasks for non-conference games. They won and no one was injured. Good thing on the latter too because due to COVID-19 (because really what isn’t this year), the Gophers had to make do with just seven players. Three of them were playing their first college basketball game.
Fortunately, one of them was Kadi Sissoko. My friend Patrick J from Punch-Drunk Wolves has a rule about star power I’ll dub the 30 seconds test. It goes roughly like this. If I tell you that someone playing has pro potential, and you are unable to identify that person within 30 seconds of game action, I am lying. Sissoko passes the test. She had 24 points on 9-16 shooting (1-2 from distance), eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The only negative was that she fouled out at the end of the game. Out of high school she was a top 10 player, and while Eastern Illinois is no UCONN, fans should be very excited for her season.
Jasmine Powell played all 40 minutes of game action and had 21 points (yay!) on 6-22 shooting (big no!), along with eight assists (yay!) and seven turnovers (big no!). Powell is poised to build on her solid freshman campaign, but the chucker mentality and turnovers need to be brought under control. She likes to attack the basket, but her decision making was poor at times.
Klarke Sconiers had a decent 26 minutes of action, scoring 14 points and corralling eight rebounds. Five of those were on the offensive glass to extend possessions or get quick layup opportunities.
Since it is the first game of the season I will also take the time to once again note that I’d love to put in hyperlinks so you could learn more about these players. I am unable to do that because SBNation continues to refuse to have tags and links for women’s college basketball. It is almost 2021. Do better.