Carlie Wagner, 5-10 guard, senior

We've watched the native of New Richland, Minn., grow up right before our eyes: from high school phenom, to sidekick for Gophers stars, to team leader. The Gophers senior, who averaged 19.1 points a game last season, will be eyeing the 2,000-point career mark, and more, this season. But her coach doesn't expect her to be tracking that progress closely.

"Carlie doesn't really look at it individually so much; she would give all that to go back to an NCAA tournament," Marlene Stollings said last month. "But she does have the opportunity to go down as one of the great scorers to ever come through here."

Wagner twice has been named All-Big Ten second team and is on the preseason All-Big Ten team this year.

Gadiva Hubbard, 5-9 guard, sophomore

The Gophers went 15-16 overall and 5-11 in the Big Ten last season, making for an eye-opening education for Hubbard and other freshmen. But the hope is last season's losses lead to victories this winter.

"[Last season] helped me develop quite fast," Hubbard said. "It taught me what I needed to do and how fast I needed to learn."

Hubbard averaged 12.5 per game, third-best for Minnesota and one of the better averages for a Big Ten freshman.

Kenisha Bell, 5-9 guard, junior

The Gophers' second-leading scorer last season (16.1 ppg) led the team in assists (148) and steals (67) but also in turnovers: 144, or 61 more than Wagner, who had the second most on the team.

"One of my main goals is to have a 2 to 1 ratio with assists and turnovers," Bell said last month.

She'll be on the floor a lot again this season, and a cleaner all-around game and improved shooting (38 percent field-goal shooting; 29 percent three-point shooting) would make the offense more effective. "We've got a lot to prove this year," said Bell, recently named to the watch list for the award given to the nation's top point guard.

Destiny Pitts, 5-10 guard/forward, freshman

It's tough to forecast playing time for freshmen, but all signs point to Pitts, a three-time state champ and highly rated recruit from Michigan, being a key contributor. Stollings said she wants her newcomers to take on some of the big minutes starters had to play last season.

Paloma Gonzalez, 5-7 guard, freshman

The freshman won a silver medal at the 2016 European U18 championships as a member of the Spanish national team. If her game can translate, she could be quite the find.

"I want to contribute more creative play because I really like it and I think it's so fun," she said. "I also want the rest of the team to feel comfortable with me."

Gonzalez was rated as high as the No. 2 point guard in Europe.

Staff reports