Marlene Stollings has brought back another Minnesotan to the Gophers women’s basketball program, the fourth such transfer in the coach’s two years at Minnesota.

Whitney Tinjum, a 6-1 senior forward from Stacy (Chisago Lakes High), will transfer from Bradley University and be eligible next season because she has graduated.

“Whitney has a high basketball IQ combined with a strong fundamental skill set,” Stollings wrote in a statement. “We like the versatility she possesses to play both inside and outside. Her ability to score combined with court awareness defensively will add immediate value to our team. It is a special moment for all of us to witness her return home.”

Tinjum was Bradley’s second-leading scorer last season, averaging 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She started 16 of the 29 games and reached double figures 14 times, including a season-high 21 in a victory at Detroit. Tinjum began her career at Washington State, where she played in 12 games as a freshman. She transferred to Bradley midway through her sophomore year.

She joins Bryanna Fernstrom, a former Chisago Lakes teammate, Allina Starr and Kenisha Bell as Minnesota natives to transfer to the Gophers since Stollings’ arrival.

“To play at Williams Arena, in front of those who have supported me for so many years, is extremely rewarding and an opportunity that I will not waste,” Tinjum wrote in the university statement. “I can’t wait to get the ’16-’17 season rolling with this great group of women.

“As a little girl growing up in Minnesota, being a Gopher was all I ever dreamed about. I can still remember watching Lindsay Whalen and Janet Karvonen, wishing that one day I would get the opportunity to play on that same stage. Well, through a quite roundabout way, the opportunity finally has presented itself.”

At Chisago Lakes, Tinjum earned North Suburban Conference Player of the Year and all-state accolades four times. She averaged better than 20 points and nine rebounds per game during each of her four seasons, and set Chisago Lakes career records in both categories. She was a Miss Basketball candidate as a senior, when she led the Wildcats to their first state tournament appearance.

“The desire to come back home continues to speak volumes with the younger, elite student-athletes in the state,” Stollings wrote. “Minnesota women’s basketball is on the rise and they want to be part of something special that is evolving nationally. As we look to the future Minnesota will be the place to stay.”

Staff reports