The Gophers women's basketball team will play host to Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena, looking to end a four-game Big Ten Conference losing streak.
They will play the game, and the rest of the season, without starting point guard Jasmine Powell.
Powell has left the team, entered the NCAA transfer portal and will not finish her third season with the Gophers. Because of the extra year of eligibility given to athletes by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic, Powell, a native of Detroit, will have two years of eligibility remaining.
"I want to thank Jasmine for her contributions to the women's basketball program and I wish her well,'' Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen said.
On Twitter, Powell (@jazzy3gang) wrote: "I would like to start off by saying how grateful I am for my time in Minneapolis. Thank you to my coaches for making my dream of playing in the Big Ten a reality. Thank you to my teammates who have supported and encouraged me each and every day. With that being said, after much reflection, I am entering my name in the transfer portal. Thank you to those who have supported me on my journey."
Powell appeared in 68 games for the Gophers, starting 48 of them, and 36 of 37 over the past two seasons. She was the Big Ten's leading freshman scorer in 2019-20 (12.1 points, 3.1 assists). As a sophomore she was named second-team all-Big Ten by the coaches, honorable mention by the media after tying for the Gophers team lead in scoring (14.5) and averaging 5.4 assists.
In 19 games this season Powell averaged 12.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists. But her 32.2% shooting was a career low. She shot 31.1% on three-pointers.
Gophers leading scorer Sara Scalia, part of the same recruiting class as Powell, had this to say on Twitter: "I am grateful to have played the last three years with you. I'm going to miss playing with you and everything that has come with it. I will always support you, go be great.''
Powell had struggled during the team's four-game losing streak, shooting 11-for-46 overall (23.9%) and 3-for-18 on three-pointers (16.6%) while averaging six assists and three turnovers per game. After a difficult first half in a one-sided loss to Iowa at Williams Arena, Whalen did not start Powell in the second half.
Without Powell, Whalen will likely turn to Alexis Smith and veteran Gadiva Hubbard to absorb those minutes. Powell was the team's primary ballhandler, which will make her loss difficult to overcome.
This is the second high-profile transfer under Whalen.
After being suspended for "conduct unbecoming a member of the program,'' Gophers leading scorer Destiny Pitts left the team and entered the transfer portal during the 2019-20 season, Whalen's second as coach.
Pitts ended up at Texas A&M, where she is averaging 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds this season.