Golden Gopher head women's basketball coach Pam Borton announced Wednesday that Joanna Hedstrom (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Stabresa McDaniel (Dallas, Texas) have each signed a National Letter of Intent to play women's basketball next season at the University of Minnesota. The duo will join the program as freshmen in the fall of 2013.
"We are extremely excited about Joanna and Stabresa becoming Gophers," Borton said of her signing class. "They are both quality players that come from great families. Not only are they hard workers, but they are great in the classroom and chose the University of Minnesota for all of the right reasons. I wish that we had these two players this year, because they will bring depth to our guard position and have an immediate impact on our program."
Hedstrom, a 6-1 guard from Minnetonka High School, is a four-star recruit that is ranked No. 128 overall nationally by Blue Star Basketball and No. 25 nationally at her position by ESPN.com's HoopGurlz. The guard was a 2012 Pioneer Press All-State honorable mention selection, and also garnered all-state honorable mention accolades from the Minnesota State Girls Basketball Association last season.
"I am really excited to play for Coach Borton and her coaching staff," Hedstrom said. "I am excited for the style of play of the program and to compete with the players that are already there. I also see the makings of a Big Ten Championship at Minnesota, and I am excited to be able to be a part of that. I was accepted into the Carlson School of Management, so I am anxious to attend classes and experience Minnesota's great academics."
A two-time team captain, Hedstrom has been a member of Minnetonka High School's varsity squad since eighth grade, earning all-conference honors the last three years. She also became a member of Minnetonka's 1,000 Point Club last season as a junior.
Hedstrom is no stranger to Minnesota or the women's basketball program, as her mother, Mary (Dressen) Hedstrom, was a four-year letterwinner for the Gophers from 1981-84. With her strong family connection to Minnesota, Hedstrom grew up attending Gopher games and camps, and also served as a ball girl on numerous occasions.
"Joanna is one of those players that grew up always wanting to be a Gopher," Borton said. "She has been attending our camps every year since she was about eight years old, and she has developed and worked herself into an elite player. She is a very skilled point guard that plays well in transition and is a player that can really run a team. She is one of the most competitive players that I have ever been around, and it is always nice to have those attributes at that position. She has the whole package as a person, as a student and as a basketball player, not to mention that she also has a great family. She is going to be a great fit here and we are expecting her to come in and make a big impact in her first year."
Hedstrom is also a standout academically at Minnetonka. The senior boasts a 4.17 grade point average, has been a member of the National Honors Society for the past three years and has been on the "A" honor roll all four years of her high school career. She is a First Mate Leader that mentors incoming high school freshmen and was also a member of the Tonka Leadership Challenge for three years.
"Joanna is a very smart kid," Minnetonka head coach Leah Dasovich said. "Minnetonka is not an easy school, and she has taken challenging courses all of the way through. I have watched Joanna grow as a student and as a young woman. She has a lot of confidence and is just brilliant. She is as smart as a whip. She is a great writer and very good in math. It amazes me how much time she puts into basketball and then is also able to put that much time into her studies, as well."
When not playing for Minnetonka High School, Hedstrom plays for one of the top AAU programs in the nation - North Tartan Nike Elite, directed by Bill Larson. While with the squad, Hedstrom helped North Tartan advance to the Final Four at Nike Nationals in 2012.
"Joanna is a complete player," Larson said. "She is very poised, and that is what you are looking for, especially in a point guard. She not only has great leadership skills, but she also has the ability to control the game. The way that Joanna plays, she can really control the tempo, and that is what makes her really unique and very special."
Stabresa McDaniel is a three-star guard from Dallas, Texas.
McDaniel, a 5-10 guard from Skyline High School in Dallas, Texas, is a three-star recruit that is ranked No. 25 at her position by ESPN.com's HoopGurlz.
"I am very excited about signing with Minnesota," McDaniel said. "I definitely picked a school that is right for me and has everything that I was looking for in a team. I chose Minnesota because it has the right coach to help me grow on and off the court, and I feel like I will have the right teammates around me."
As a junior, McDaniel was named to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-Region Team and was also honored with a spot on the all-district first team after averaging 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The guard was also named her team's Offensive Player of the Year.
"Stabresa is probably one of the strongest players we have ever recruited," Borton said of the guard. "I think they make them a little different down in Texas, but she is on an entirely different level athletically. We usually develop strength, power and explosiveness in players when they get to the collegiate level, but she will bring a lot of those natural attributes to our program right away."
As an underclassman, McDaniel garnered second-team all-district accolades in 2011 and was an honorable mention selection in 2010.
"Number one, Stebresa will bring a fierce competitiveness to the court," Skyline head coach Cassandra McCurdy said. "She works hard on both ends of the floor, and she can defend in the paint and on the perimeter. She is great off of the bounce and can shoot the three. She is multifaceted. She is going to bring a lot to the table. As a freshman and sophomore, Bree played the four position for us here at Skyline, and she has adjusted quite well to the three, two and even doing some one for us now. She will be able to help out in any area in which she is asked. She can also rebound very well for a guard. We are going to miss her here."
Similar to Hedstrom, McDaniel also plays for one of the top AAU programs in the country in DFW Elite AAU, coached by Daryl Horton.
"Stabresa is a good overall player, there isn't just one thing that she is good at," Horton said. "She handles the ball well and shoots the ball well. She is a great defender and, athletically, she has a college-ready body already. I think that Minnesota got one of the better players in this area. She will be a productive player in the Big Ten."