They started talking, in earnest, in January.

By the time the Gophers women's basketball team's appearance in the Big Ten Conference tournament ended Thursday, Lindsay Whalen and Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle had agreed.

Whalen's contract has been extended by a year, pending Board of Regents approval. She is now under contract through the 2024-25 season.

According to Regents documents released Friday, Whalen is set to make $547,000 in base salary next season, $575,000 in 2023-24, and $600,000 in 2024-25.

Her four seasons at the helm of the team have not yet produced an NCAA tournament bid. But the extension shows Coyle's belief the program is headed in the right direction, a feeling Whalen echoed.

"I'm a first-time coach,'' she said. "From what I can see and tell, looking at the Big Ten, it takes time. We've worked on relationships with younger players in the state, nationally and regionally. I feel, record-wise, this year we would like it to have looked different. But the way the team has played in the last month, and with the players that are coming in, I feel really good.''

The Gophers' loss to Northwestern on Thursday dropped their record to 14-17. In Big Ten regular-season play, Minnesota started 2-7 but finished 5-4, with much of that improvement coming after guard Jasmine Powell announced her decision in late January to leave the team and enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Indeed, the Gophers are still hoping there will be a postseason option available.

The team's strength of schedule, their NET ranking (currently 89th) and their play down the stretch could prompt the Women's NIT — which usually requires a winning record — to offer a bid.

Under Whalen the Gophers are 59-56 overall, 28-44 in the Big Ten.

The team will return leading scorer Sara Scalia, a second-team All-Big Ten player. Incoming players include a recruiting class ranked 10th in the nation by ESPN made up of four Minnesota players: Mara Braun (Wayzata), Nia Holloway (Eden Prairie), Amaya Battle (Hopkins) and Mallory Heyer (Chaska).

"We battled through this year, in a tough conference, with a tough nonconference schedule,'' Whalen said. "We have good players coming in, I feel very excited about the future.''