The recent NCAA women’s basketball game between the University of Minnesota and HBCU foe Norfolk State University provided plenty of metro area connections, with the Gophers winning 74-43 on Wednesday, November 29, at Williams Arena.
Sophomore point guard Amaya Battle (Hopkins) contributed 14 points and five assists to the Gophers’ victory while junior forward Kierra Wheeler led Norfolk State with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Here are some more metro connections from the past:
State championship for Hopkins
In 2022, Battle teamed with Maya Nnaji (University of Arizona) and Taylor Woodson (University of Michigan) to lead the Royals to the Class 4A state championship. They were led by current head coach and former Minneapolis North girls basketball standout Tara Starks.
State championship for Robbinsdale Cooper
In 2018, Kierra Wheeler, as a freshman, along with older sister Aja Wheeler, who went on to play at HBCU Alcorn State, Andrea Tibbs, and Ty’neecia Longs, led the Hawks to the Class 3A state crown.
Cooper was coached by Kiara Buford. Buford led St. Paul Central to Class 4A titles in 2007 and 2008, before embarking on an impressive career with the Gophers.
After her freshman year, Kierra Wheeler developed into an all-metro player averaging 18 points per game as a senior, and is now among the top players in the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference).
Mom and Dad starred in hoops too
During the late 1980s, Kierra and Aja Wheeler’s mother Katrena Wheeler teamed with Angelique Brittain, Kim Carpenter, Cindy Hovet, Carita Green, and Jennifer Hanson to help Minneapolis Roosevelt capture two St. Paul City girls’ basketball titles in 1989 and 1990 during her freshman and sophomore years.
Their father, Mario Green, played under Clem Haskins at the University of Minnesota from 1987-91.
The metro area was well represented.