Stillwater native first to sign under Gophers Coach Lindsay Whalen

- From professional practices to press conferences, the last month has been a whirlwind for Lindsay Whalen. 

But her first recruiting class at the U of M is settling in place, starting with Sara Scalia of Stillwater.

“Now that she’s my coach, it’s amazing,” Scalia said, becoming the first player to commit to the new Gophers women’s basketball coach. 

Sara earned other offers from schools around the Midwest, but it was almost impossible to say no to the Gophers when Whalen approached.

“When Lindsay became the coach, I visited and it was the right fit,” Scalia said. “I just think it’s so amazing that she’s been so successful as a basketball player, and I think she will be as a coach, too.”

Being around Whalen on the basketball court is nothing new for Scalia. She and her family have been attending Lynx games as season ticket holders for the last few years. 

It has been an experience watching Whalen up close, but learning from an idol will be a dream come true for Sara. 

“I have always looked up to her playing because we play the same position, and I think she’s a great role model,” Scalia says of Whalen. “I think she can make me into a really great player and teach me a lot.”

This new era of Minnesota women’s basketball is only starting, but Sara hopes to be part of the spark to bring the program back to prominence. 

“We’re going to go far, and having [Whalen] as our coach will be great,” Scalia added.

In her junior season at Stillwater, Scalia scored 26.5 points per game for the Ponies. She will be part of the 2019 Gophers recruiting class. 

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