Staff Directory 6370602

Kent Youngblood

Reporter | Pro Sports
Phone: 612-673-4365

Kent Youngblood has covered sports for the Star Tribune for more than 20 years.

Youngblood covered the Vikings in two NFC title games, Gophers football in two bowl games, both the Wild and Wolves in conference championship series and three Lynx WNBA champions.He has been writing about sports for nearly three decades, including several years in Wisconsin covering the Green Bay Packers, including two trips to the Super Bowl.
Recent content from Kent Youngblood
Gophers guard Mara Braun clamored over the ball during the second overtime against Drake on Saturday.

Braun, Gophers women's basketball rise up late to beat Drake in 2OT

The Gophers outscored the Bulldogs 20-9 to close the fourth quarter, then held on in two overtimes at Williams Arena. Mara Braun scored 14 of her 33 points after regulation.
Drake’s Katie Dinnebier (10) drove past Iowa guards Gabbie Marshall (24) and Molly Davis (1) during the Bulldogs’ 113-90 loss on Nov. 19.

Gophers women will get tested Saturday against a formidable Drake team

Kent Youngblood's analysis: This is the last of seven straight home games to start the season for Minnesota, and after the UConn game, likely the most challenging.
Gophers freshman Grace Grocholski (25) defended against Norfolk State’s Danielle Robinson and finished with 26 points Wednesday at Williams Arena.

Early impressions as U women's basketball enters a tough matchup

Plitzuweit has the team playing better defense, but depth could be a problem entering Saturday's game against Drake and beyond.
Gophers freshman Grace Grocholski shot a three-pointer over Norfolk State’s Kierra Wheeler (22) in the second quarter in Minnesota’s 74-43 victory

Grocholski scores career-high 26 as U women trounce Norfolk State

Grace Grocholski made nine of 14 shots overall and went 5-for-8 on three-pointers. The freshman had 17 points in the first half as Minnesota built an 18-point halftime lead.
Gophers forward Mallory Heyer fought to score two of her 17 points vs. Stony Brook on Sunday at Williams Arena.

Gophers women take on HBCU conference champion in Norfolk State

Kent Youngblood's analysis: Norfolk State, which is off to a 6-1 record, is a competitive mid-major team the Gophers can't afford to overlook.
Gophers center Sophie Hart is second on the team in scoring (9.8 points per game) and shooting percentage (60.5) and first in total blocks (five).

Farmington's 'Soph the Goph' makes impact for U women after transfer

Sophie Hart's father sees her finding a rhythm with after not being able to play last season following her transfer from North Carolina State.
Gophers center Sophie Hart (52) prepared to put up a shot against Stony Brook on Sunday at Williams Arena. Hart scored 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

Big second-half run sparks Gophers women over Stony Brook

Sophie Hart and Mallory Heyer led the way as the Gophers responded after the Seawolves tied the score in the third quarter.
Mara Braun bounced back from a difficult game against UConn with 21 points against Cal State-Northridge.

Gophers women's basketball vs. Stony Brook game preview: broadcast info and analysis

Kent Youngblood's analysis: The Seawolves are the first of three mid-major opponents expected to make the NCAA tournament.
The Gophers’ Amaya Battle, who had 10 points and five assists, went up for a shot as Cal State Northridge’s Kayanna Spriggs defended Wednesday nig

Gophers women rebound from UConn loss with huge rout of Cal State-Northridge

The Minnesota women beat Cal State-Northridge 84-31 for the program's third-largest margin of victory.
Gophers guard Grace Grocholski (25) went 3-for-15 from three-point range Sunday against UConn.

U women look to get back on track vs. Cal State Northridge

Kent Youngblood's analysis: The Gophers were ice-cold shooting against UConn on Sunday, but this should be a chance to heat up.
Gophers guard Mara Braun (10) had a rough game offensively against UConn on Sunday.

Loss to UConn shows Gophers women 'we can hang with good teams'

The Gophers women's basketball team enters Wednesday's game against Cal State Northridge looking to build off a solid defensive showing against UConn.
Paige Bueckers (5) celebrated a UConn basket with teammate KK Arnold at the end of the third quarter against the Gophers on Sunday.

Bueckers gets warm reception, leads UConn over cold-shooting Gophers

The crowd at Williams Arena, only the second one bigger than 10,000 since 2007, roared when Paige Bueckers was introduced. The former Hopkins superstar called the experience surreal.
Paige Bueckers gave her Hopkins teammate Amaya Battle a high-five at the Lindbergh Center on Feb. 29, 2020, in Minnetonka, Minn. The two will meet on

Bueckers, Battle, Braun look forward to reunion at the Barn

Buzzing with homecoming energy, the Gophers-UConn game reunites longtime friends Paige Bueckers, Amaya Battle and Mara Braun and brings Bueckers back to Minnesota.
UConn guard Paige Bueckers (5) celebrated with teammates Aaliyah Edwards (3) and Ice Brady (25) during an 80-48 home victory over Maryland on Thursday

Bueckers, UConn enter Sunday's game vs. Gophers riding sky high

Kent Youngblood's analysis: Connecticut's blowout victory over Maryland on Thursday was another reminder of how difficult this test will be for Dawn Plitzuweit's Gophers.
Gophers forward Mallory Heyer shot a three-pointer over North Dakota State guard Abby Krzewinski in the first half of Minnesota’s 75-53 victory Wedn

Gophers women take charge early, avenge last year's loss to NDSU

Minnesota raced to a 21-5 start and cruised to victory over North Dakota State. Amaya Battle led the way with a career-high 20 points and nine assists.
Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit has plenty of experience facing North Dakota State from her days coaching at South Dakota.

Gophers women's basketball vs. NDSU game preview: Difficult test coming

Kent Youngblood's analysis: The Gophers lost to North Dakota State last year, so this game should have their full attention, even with UConn coming next.
Gophers center Ayianna Johnson (1) battled inside against Chicago State’s Taylor Norris in Sunday’s game at Williams Arena.

U women's basketball gets glimpse of freshman center's raw potential

Freshman center Ayianna Johnson, who scored 19 points in Minnesota's 100-42 win over Chicago State, didn't follow the same path to college basketball as most of her teammates.
Gophers guard Mara Braun, who scored 25 points, drove for a layup during the second half Sunday at Williams Arena. Minnesota won 100-42.

Braun dominates in leading U women to rout of Chicago State

Mara Braun scored 23 of her 25 points in the first half, sending Minnesota on its way to a 100-42 victory over Chicago State on Sunday.
Mara Braun scored 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting against Long Island University in the Gophers’ season opener.

Gophers women's basketball vs. Chicago State preview: Broadcast info, analysis

Kent Youngblood's analysis: The Gophers beat the Cougars 105-54 last season.
The Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert (27) drove against the Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama during the first half Friday in San Antonio.

Wolves best Spurs 117-110 to open in-season tournament play

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards led the Wolves with 29 and 28 points, respectively, and Minnesota recovered from a sloppy first quarter in San Antonio.
The Gophers’ Mara Braun, who scored a game-high 25 points, prepared to shoot Wednesday night against Long Island University at Williams Arena. Minne

Feel-good night: Gophers women win by 35 in Plitzuweit's debut

Mara Braun scored 25 points, and Minnesota earned an easy 92-57 victory over Long Island University in Dawn Plitzuweit's debut as coach on a night of firsts.
Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit directed her players against Long Island University’s press Wednesday at Williams Arena.

U women's opener had a lot to like — except for one nagging problem

A 34-9 lead after a quarter and a 35-point win. Shooting 54% led by a core of returning players. But there was one nasty negative that stood out in the season opener against Long Island University.
Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit

Gophers make it official signing Tori McKinney and McKenna Johnson

Dawn Plitzuweit completed her first recruiting class as Gophers coach on Wednesday's national signing day.
Gophers guard Mara Braun is among 20 preseason candidates for the Cheryl Miller Award, given to the nation’s top small forward.

Gophers women's basketball vs. Long Island game preview and analysis

Kent Youngblood's analysis: The Gophers can iron out the kinks against a Long Island University team that lost 81-44 to St. John's (N.Y.) on Monday.
Gophers women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit, middle, will be making her Williams Arena head coaching debut Wednesday night.

Whole new game for U women's hoops as Plitzuweit debuts with full roster

Wednesday's opener against Long Island University will be Dawn Plitzuweit's debut and a chance for Nia Holloway and Sophie Hart to take the court after missing last season.
Gophers women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit led the team through a preseason practice Oct. 31 at Williams Arena.

Gophers women's basketball team set to sign two recruits Wednesday

The national signing period opens Wednesday, and Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit is expected to sign both of the players who have committed.
Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards passed the ball under the net during the first half against the Jazz at Target Center

Wolves continue strong play with 123-95 victory over Jazz

The Wolves, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, broke open a tie game with a 15-2 run in the third quarter. Towns finished with 25 points. Anthony Edwards had 31.
Dawn Plitzuweit is entering her first season as Gophers women’s basketball coach, replacing Lindsay Whalen.

For U women's basketball, a new era arrives with Dawn Plitzuweit

Dawn Plitzuweit's attention to detail has helped her win at every level of college basketball. Now, she's looking to bring success to the Gophers, who have struggled through three straight losing seasons.
Mallory Heyer, middle, and the Gophers women’s basketball team open the new season on Nov. 8 vs. Long Island at Williams Arena.

For U sophomore Mallory Heyer, a long to-do list has turned longer

The Gophers women's basketball team grew to depend on Heyer last season. New coach Dawn Plitzuweit is asking her for even more this season.
Minnesota native Paige Bueckers tossed T-shirts into the crowd at the Lynx game against Dallas on July 12 at Target Center.

Bueckers and 19 more: Minnesotans to watch in women's basketball

Kent Youngblood has the list of top Minnesotans who left the state to star around the country in women's college basketball this season.
Napheesa Collier of the Lynx drove past Sun forward Alyssa Thomas during the WNBA playoffs this season.

Collier on Lynx: 'I feel like this is my team now'

After working hard to return after giving birth, the former UConn standout emerged as one of the league's best players.
Gophers sophomore Amaya Battle said she didn’t even have to look at film to know her shooting motion was off last season. So she set out to fix it w

Battle wants to lead the Gophers — but first she had to fix her shot

Over hundreds of hours in the gym, and with some help from Rachel Banham and Mara Braun, the sophomore point guard rebuilt her shooting motion.
Gophers guard Mara Braun, left, led the Gophers in scoring last season, averaging 15.6 points per game as a freshman.

Gophers sophomore Mara Braun named to Cheryl Miller Award watch list

Mara Braun continues to gain recognition heading into her sophomore season for the Gophers.
Lynx star Napheesa Collier finished fourth in the league in scoring (24.7), seventh in rebounding (8.5) and ninth in steals (1.6).

Lynx forward Collier named first-team All-WNBA

This is the second time Napheesa Collier has been named All-WNBA, and the first time she's been named to the first team.
Gophers women’s basketball sophomores, left to right, Amaya Battle, Mara Braun, and Mallory Heyer addressed reporters Monday at Big Ten media day at

U women's basketball team builds rapport with new coach 'Dawny P.'

Gophers women's basketball sophomore Amaya Battle was quick to nickname new coach Dawn Plitzuweit. And the new coach has an interesting description of her team as well.
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark took part in Hawkeyes media day last Wednesday.

Big Ten basketball media days — women and men — descend on Target Center

Iowa star Caitlin Clark will be a focal point Monday along with new Gophers women's basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit. Men's coach Ben Johnson gets his turn Tuesday.
Gophers guard Mara Braun (10) continues to draw accolades after a strong freshman season and summer with USA Basketball.

Gophers' Braun named to preseason all-Big Ten women's basketball team

Braun, a Wayzata native who led the Gophers in scoring last year as a freshman, was one of 11 players chosen to the preseason all-Big Ten team.
Gophers guard Mara Braun celebrated during a victory against Nebraska on Feb. 15 at Williams Arena.

Game time, broadcast info set for Gophers women's basketball vs. UConn

Paige Bueckers and UConn will take on the Gophers on Nov. 19 at Williams Arena.
Diamond Miller (left) and Dorka Juhász met with the media after being drafted by the Lynx in April.

Lynx's Juhász, Miller make WNBA all-rookie team

Joining Dorka Juhász and Diamond Miller on the team was Aliyah Boston of Indiana, voted the league's top first-year player.
Forward Kyle Anderson suffered an eye injury in the Wolves’ first-round playoff series loss to Denver last season. There were concerns he might not

Timberwolves' Anderson back after scary eye injury

Forward Kyle Anderson spent some anxious moments during the offseason wondering if the injury was career-ending, but surgery was successful and he was able to play for China in the World Cup.
Farmington native Sophie Hart hasn’t played NCAA minutes since last November, when she entered the transfer portal from North Carolina State.

'There is no last year' as U women open practice under Plitzuweit

The first official practice for Gophers women's basketball got underway this week, with the team building on bonds established during a summer trip to Europe.
Aerial Powers said on social media that she’ll be playing elsewhere next season.

She's back, she's gone: A player-by-player look at the Lynx roster

Two of the team's three highest paid players will be back; the other is unhappy and headed out of town. Here's a player-by-player look at the current roster from basketball writer Kent Youngblood.
Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (24) got past DeWanna Bonner for two of her 31 points on Wednesday.

Collier can't get enough help as Lynx loss to Sun ends season

Napheesa Collier had a career night, but her Lynx teammates didn't provide enough in the 90-75 loss to the Sun in the deciding Game 3 of the first-round playoff series.
Kennedy Klick was a standout at DeLaSalle and Maple Grove in high school before joining the Gophers.

Gophers women's basketball loses freshman to season-ending knee injury

Kennedy Klick had a standout prep career at DeLaSalle and Maple Grove and had a chance to be the Gophers' backup point guard this season.
Napheesa Collier of the Lynx was stopped by Connecticut guard DiJonai Carrington during a game at Target Center on June 22.

Will depth be the difference when Lynx, Sun meet in deciding Game 3?

For the sixth-seeded Lynx to upset Connecticut, they'll need to repeat the formula that brought them a surprising victory on the road in Sunday's Game 2.
Kayla McBride of the Lynx worked against the Connecticut defense on Sunday.

Odd playoff format gives Lynx chance to win playoff series at home

The Lynx became the first team in league history to lose a game by at least 30 points and win the next game of its playoff series. Will playing Game 3 at Target Center spark a series win that looked improbable?
Lynx star Napheesa Collier celebrated after a basket during Sunday’s 82-75 playoff victory over the Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

Lynx bring playoff series home for deciding game with dramatic win

Napheesa Collier battled through an injury that sent her to the locker room and Kayla McBride hit six three-pointers as the Lynx stormed back from a 30-point loss to Connecticut in the series opener.
Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes, right, tried to steal Lynx point guard Rachel Banham on Sunday.

Lynx-Connecticut Game 2 recap

The Lynx flipped the script in a big way from Game 1.
Napheesa Collier and the Lynx face WNBA playoff elimination on Sunday at Connecticut.

Lynx have nowhere to go but up facing must-win vs. Sun

The Sun dominated Game 1, and can advance with a victory at their home arena. "We are going to play better," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve declared.
Gophers sophomore Mara Braun

Gophers star Braun helps lead USA to first 3x3 women's basketball gold

Mara Braun was one of Team USA's leading scorers, as the squad won the FIBA 3x3 Nations League tournament Mongolia, beating China by one point for the title.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, pictured Aug. 22, didn’t have reasons to be cheerful Wednesday night, when her team lost 90-60 at Connecticut in Game 1 of

Lackluster Lynx routed 90-60 in Game 1 of WNBA playoffs vs. Sun

The Lynx, making their first WNBA playoff appearance since 2021, were dominated in a road loss to the Sun in Game 1 of a first-round series Wednesday.
Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (right, with Rachel Banham) finished fourth in the WNBA in scoring this season after missing all but four games last yea

Lynx's Collier, Miller and Juhász earn WNBA honors from AP

Ahead of the WNBA playoffs, the Lynx had three players nab season awards Tuesday from the Associated Press. Napheesa Collier shared her co-Comeback Player of the Year honor with Brittney Griner; Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász make All-Rookie team.
Lynx forward Dorka Juhász defended against Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman when the two teams met back in June. The Lynx-Sun playoff series begins Wednesd

WNBA first-round playoff preview: How Lynx, Sun compare

Connecticut led the league in points allowed, giving up only 79.0 points per game. Minnesota allowed 85.0, which ranked 11th out of 12 teams.
Lynx rookie Dorka Juhász finished her college career at UConn and will be back in Connecticut for her first WNBA playoff series.

Connecticut has edge in experience as Lynx start playoffs on road

Rookies Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász will be in the starting lineup for Minnesota, which has to win at least one game on the East Coast to get a home WNBA playoff game.
Minnetonka guard Tori McKinney (14), ranked Noi. 4 in the state, has committed to the University of Minnesota.

U women get commitment from Minnetonka standout McKinney

A 6-1 guard from Minnetonka, Tori McKinney was ranked as the No. 4 in-state recruit by Prep Girls Hoops and the highest-ranked player still available.
Gophers sophomore Mara Braun has been playing international 3x3 competitions for Team USA this offseason.

Gophers star Braun thrives off international 3x3 competition

Mara Braun is the sort who always needs to be doing something. And that's why the last few months have been so perfect. She's also seeing how playing 3x3 can help her game with the Gophers.
Kayla McBride (left) brings high passion and intensity to the Lynx which blends well with the composed style of Napheesa Collier (right), but the team

From 0-6 to playoffs, how Lynx stars Collier, McBride made that happen

The Lynx are the first WNBA team to reach the playoffs after such a poor start. All it took was the balanced personalities of fiery Kayla McBride and composed Napheesa Colliers.
After losing to the Indiana Fever on Sunday, coach Cheryl Reeve said: “We have no clue,. The team we’re about to play in the playoffs has a big-ti

'We have no clue.' Reeve rips Lynx after regular-season ending loss

A victory would have earned the Lynx the No. 5 seed in the WNBA playoffs, but they let the Fever finish on an 18-2 run. "It's a complete lack of focus and intentionality,'' coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve watched play during the first half Sept. 1.

Hot-shooting Sky send Lynx down WNBA standings

Friday night's 92-87 loss in Chicago dropped the Lynx from the fifth seed to sixth behind Atlanta, which owns the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. Minnesota.
Lynx guard Kayla McBride acknowledged the crowd after a victory Sunday at Target Center.

Kayla McBride gets multiyear contract extension from Lynx

The veteran guard has helped the team to a WNBA playoff berth.
Napheesa Collier of the Lynx shot over Phoenix center Megan Gustafson during a Sept. 3 game at Target Center.

As Lynx head to playoffs, Collier 'proud' of rebound after rough start

The Lynx could finish anywhere from fourth to seventh in the WNBA with two games left to play.
Napheesa Collier

Lynx forward Napheesa Collier named WNBA Western Conference player of the week

It's the fourth time the All-Star has been a player of the week as she had three double-doubles for a team that clinched a playoff spot.
Mystics guard Brittney Sykes, seen July 28 against the Wings, scored 21 points against the Lynx on Tuesday.

Lynx fall to 7th in WNBA playoff race, lose to fully healthy Mystics

Though the Lynx entered Tuesday's matchup with a slight edge in the standings, Washington's 83-72 victory jumped the Mystics from No. 6 to No. 5.
Liberty forward Breanna Stewart during a game earlier this season.

Lynx blown out at home by New York as Breanna Stewart scores 38 points

The Lynx lost for the 11th time at Target Center this season, the worst mark for a Cheryl Reeve-coached team.
Lynx forward Napheesa Collier drove the lane to the basket as Dallas center Awak Kuier defended in the second half Thursday.

Lynx rip officials, top Wings in rematch; climb to 5th place in WNBA

"We had to withstand a lot to hang on," coach Cheryl Reeve said after the Lynx pulled out a physical rematch against Dallas.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve reacted to calls late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s controversial victory over Dallas at Target Center.

Lynx coach: Officials needed to be in better control Tuesday vs. Wings

Reeve said the officiating crew Tuesday night needed to be "more in tune with what's going on."
Satou Sabally (0) of the Dallas Wings is looked over by a trainer in the fourth quarter Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at Target Center in Minneapolis, Min

Dallas star rips 'disgusting fan base' after Lynx get revenge win

Three fans were ejected near the end of the game after Dallas star Satou Sabally was injured — and then subjected to taunts — near the end of the Lynx's 91-86 win. Coach Cheryl Reeve apologized to the Wings afterward.
Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier (24), guard Kayla McBride (21), forward Jessica Shepard (10), and guard Tiffany Mitchell (25) sat on the bench

Lynx fail to complete season sweep of Storm with decisive loss at home

The Lynx shot only 35.3% and had trouble protecting the ball against Seattle as they lost 88-74.
Lynx forward Napheesa Collier was fouled by Indiana forward NaLyssa Smith while shooting in a July 5 game at Target Center.

Collier needs to stay out of foul trouble for playoff-chasing Lynx

Napheesa Collier has battled foul trouble recently, and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve says the team's star player needs to be more aware of the officiating crew.
Dawn Plitzuweit is entering her first season as Gophers women’s basketball coach, replacing Lindsay Whalen.

Plitzuweit sees growth, promise from Gophers women's basketball team

The roster is full of contradictions — youth and experience, returning starters and tons of new faces. The first-year head coach gives her early impressions of the team.
Lindsay Allen

Lynx starting guard Lindsay Allen sidelined by broken thumb

The former Notre Dame standout is averaging 6.2 points and 4.5 assists per game, and her game had been on the upswing after a slow start.
Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve reacts during a game on July 22

Lynx outshoot Sky 88-79 behind Collier's 29 points and Shepard's 17

The Lynx took lead after lead only to have the Sky come back. But behind Collier's 29 points on 10-for-18 shooting the Lynx came through in the end.
Lynx rookie Dorka Juhász has been seeing a lot of playing time but had to sit out Friday’s game because of a hamstring injury.

Rachel Banham, Dorka Juhász return to Lynx practice

Both reserves could be available when the team visits Chicago on Tuesday.
Napheesa Collier, shown here playing against Indiana in July, returned to action for the Lynx on Friday night against New York.

Liberty top Lynx to spoil Collier's return, Whalen's celebration

New York took control of a nail biter in the fourth quarter, spoiling Napheesa Collier's return from a right ankle injury and a celebration of Lindsay Whalen at Target Center.
Napheesa Collier has been sidelined because of an ankle injury.

Lynx All-Star Collier practices as return nears

The team has upped its game without Olympian Napheesa Collier and had success, a positive as it tries to make the WNBA playoffs.