Senior Bryanna Fernstrom returned home to Minnesota for the last few seasons of her college career. The Center City native and human resources major started her junior season halfway through due to NCAA transfer rules, but now has a full 2017-18 ahead of her.
GopherSports.com caught up with Fernstrom the week before the Gophers’ official start of season practice.
GopherSports: What difference does it make being eligible to play right away this year?
Bryanna Fernstrom: With the preseason games and the non-conference, I think it will be easier to transition into the conference games. Last year I just kind of got thrown in there against once of the best teams in the conference, against Ohio State, so it was kind of surprising. I think this year it’ll be a better transition.
GS: What are some things you’ve worked on during the offseason, during summer and fall?
BF: We posts in general worked on finishing better around the basket. That’s something we didn’t do very well at last year. And for me, being more versatile, going right rather than left every time, which I’ve been working on for a while. It’s kind of natural for me to go left because I feel more comfortable. I think throwing the right hand in there once in a while will make it harder for the defense to play me.
GS: Other than the play on the court, what have you liked about being with the team this summer and fall?
BF: We get along really well. There haven’t been any problems so far and I don’t see those coming. I think having foreign people on the team is really fun. It’s interesting to see what they do differently. And we try to talk like them and play around with how they talk. It’s just really fun and we’ve clicked really well so far.
GS: What are some of your goals for yourself and the team for your senior season?
BF: For the team—I would definitely say everyone would agree—to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Coach talks a lot about us making it far into the Big Ten Tournament, and winning the Big Ten Tournament would be the ultimate goal. I think the NCAA Tournament would be a really fun way to end my senior year. Personally, I think making a big impact on the team playing-wise, playing more. Last year I wasn’t really happy with how I played.
GS: Was earning Academic All-Big Ten honors last year a particularly proud point for you?
BF: My freshman year at Iowa State, I didn’t do very well. I didn’t really care about academics and they don’t push it as much as they do here. Then there were eight hours of required study hall the first semester I transferred here and they really got me back on track and got me in classes that I wanted to be in and classes that were better for me because I was more interested in them, but also pushing me with tutoring. And we set goals for ourselves, so it was a lot easier to do better. They make you want to do better. Yeah, I was really proud of myself. I never really thought I would do that, and I never cared to until I actually did it. Now I feel like it’s a goal every semester to do that, because I know I can.
GS: Are there any games or road trips you’re especially looking forward to this year?
BF: I think we really owe a lot of teams. … And I’m excited to go to Vegas. I think that’ll be a fun trip with the team.
GS: What have you noticed or learned watching the Lynx games?
BF: I love watching Sylvia Fowles. I think she’s my favorite one to watch. How she finishes around the basket, and she’s so strong and demands the ball. I’ve really enjoyed watching her.
Minnesota Squares Off with Oregon Sunday
3/17/2018 - W. Basketball
The 10th-seeded Golden Gophers continue play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday against No. 2 seed Oregon in Eugene, Ore., at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
Second-Half Surge Sends Gophers to Second Round
3/16/2018 - W. Basketball
Minnesota outscored Green Bay 57-35 in the second half en route to an 89-77 win to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Eugene, Ore., Friday afternoon.
Gophers Face Phoenix Friday in NCAA Opener
3/15/2018 - W. Basketball
Minnesota returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014-15, the second time under head coach Marlene Stollings.