- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
The quartet of Minnesota natives started summer workouts and spoke about creating a team culture that inspires future Minnesotans to play for the U.
As, one by one, they each decided to stay home, to play for the University of Minnesota, they started texting. And calling. Facetiming.
"I reached out to them," Mallory Heyer said. "I wanted them to come, too. I wanted other girls from Minnesota to stay home, so we can build something here."
Heyer was the first to commit to Lindsay Whalen and the women's basketball team. Then Nia Holloway, then Mara Braun, finally Amaya Battle. Heyer from Chaska, Holloway Eden Prairie, Braun Wayzata, Battle Hopkins.
Interestingly enough, the steady march of transfers that followed a season that ended with a 15-18 record and a berth in the Women's National Invitation Tournament didn't seem to faze any of the freshmen. The turnover didn't give them pause, but purpose.
"It made me feel way more resolved," Battle said. "All four of us, whenever somebody left, we were like, 'You know what? That's more of an opportunity for us to put our names out there.' Really reset the culture and everything. It was sad to see them go. But in the end, it's our turn."
Said Holloway: "It was shocking to say the least. But it's more important that we push forward to the culture we're trying to build here with the players who stayed. It's about being together. We want to be better for each other. In that practice we just had, you could feel the energy."