Gopher Coaches Show: Lindsay Whalen talks playing amid pandemic

College sports are being put to the ultimate test as we transition into 2021, trying to stay safe and allow competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There might not be a coach who knows that better than University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen. She joined Fox 9’s Hobie Artigue and KFAN Gophers analyst Justin Gaard this week for the Gophers Coaches Show.

Whalen’s Gophers are 2-6 through eight games, including 1-5 in Big Ten play. Minnesota won its season opener over Eastern Illinois, then lost four straight games before getting their first Big Ten win in overtime at Wisconsin on Jan. 3.

They’re just eight games into the season and would normally be working out early kinks in non-conference play. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and condensing schedules, the Gophers head to No. 9-ranked Maryland Thursday night. The Terrapins are one of five Big Ten teams in the AP Top 25.

Whalen described the challenges the Gophers are facing amid COVID-19. They didn’t have any summer workouts, had one week of practice and had two non-conference games they couldn’t play. Whalen dons a mask during games on the sideline, and the team had to pause practice in November for up to three weeks due to COVID-19 issues.

Players had to wear masks in practice for nearly three weeks once they resumed. If coaching amid a health pandemic isn’t tough enough, Whalen is putting together a team where 10 of the 13 players are freshmen or sophomores.

"We’ve just got to keep working and chipping away at this thing and continue to stick together. We have to simplify things and compete," Whalen said.

One positive amid a tough start: The Gophers have led at half in every game this season. To hear more from Whalen, watch the full video.