Lindsey Whelan put her number 13 jersey in vogue last November, but it won’t get a workout until Gadiva Hubbard wears it this season.
Hubbard, the sixth-year senior to join the Gophers women’s basketball team before Whelan became the team’s head coach in 2018, will be the first Gophers player to wear the number 13, as Whelan wore it in 2004 while taking Yu to the Final Four , most likely when the Gophers begin their season on October 31 against Crookston, Minnesota at Williams Arena.
Hubbard is one of 12 players on the 2021-22 roster, returning from a team that went 8-13, 7-11 on aggregate in the Big Ten during a post-COVID-shortened season in 2020-21. He averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds as a redshirt junior last year before taking an extra season allowed by the NCAA due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I remember ‘the diva saying it was her number, and she was told she couldn’t wear it. So, I said, ‘We’re going to change that,'” Whelan said Tuesday ahead of the Gophers’ season. Said after practice. “She’s been with me for a full four years, and it’s a number she wanted to wear.”
Whelan was a three-time All-America player in Minnesota and featured the Gophers in the Sweet 16 and Final Four. He won four WNBA titles with the Lynx, who officially retired his number 13 jersey in June 2019. His number 13 is one of six “awarded” jerseys hanging in the ceiling at Williams Arena. Others are related to his former teammates Janelle McCarville (4), Rachel Banham (1), Linda Roberts (21), Carol Ann Shudlik (42) and Laura Koenen (44).
Junior point guard Jasmine Powell is wearing number 4, sophomore point guard Alexi Smith is number 1 and sophomore guard Carolyn Strande is number 21.
“I like to give (Hubbard) a hard time, like when she’ll make a good pass and I’ll say, ‘Here used to be a 13 … who could have made that pass,'” Whelan said. “I don’t remember his name. That was a long time ago.” ”
Hubbard, an off guard, missed all of his junior season with a foot injury, and missed five games last season with an ankle injury. She is pursuing her graduate course this season.
“We’ve been here together for four years,” Whelan said. “We’ve gone through thick and thin, so I couldn’t think of anyone better to wear it.”