Minnesota redshirt sophomore center Amanda Zahui B. to enter WNBA draft

Release from Minnesota:

University of Minnesota redshirt sophomore center Amanda Zahui B. announced Monday that she plans to enter the WNBA Draft and forego her final two years of collegiate eligibility. Zahui, a first-team All-America selection and Big Ten Player of the Year, will learn her professional fate at the league’s draft on April 16.

“We are extremely proud of Amanda and the opportunities that await her professional career,” said Gophers head coach Marlene Stollings, who led the team to its first NCAA berth in six years during her first season at the helm. “In just a short amount of time, her maturity and skills advanced greatly, culminating in this incredible opportunity. Our entire staff worked diligently to help Amanda grow both on and off the court resulting in this amazing next step in her life.”

The first Associated Press All-America first team selection in Gophers program history, Zahui was also recognized as an All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association and espnW. The Stockholm, Sweden native became just the sixth Gopher in program history to be named a Wade Trophy Finalist and the first in 10 years, as well as the third Naismith Trophy finalist in program history. Zahui, who earned a spot on the National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award, was named to the 10-member WBCA All-America Team during Final Four Super Saturday festivities last weekend in Tampa, Fla.

“Over the past few years I’ve learned a lot about making difficult decisions involving my life, education, and future starting with a major move from my home country to the United States,” said Zahui. “Though challenging, that initial decision has proved to be a step in the right direction. I am most grateful for the University of Minnesota and the Golden Gopher basketball program and athletic department for believing in me and welcoming me as I sought to make something great of my life and grooming my talents further. In two years, the University of Minnesota became home. The coaches, university staff, teammates and community have helped me in many ways; I truly want to thank them all. I will forever be a Gopher and will support their continued success.”

In just two seasons with the Gophers, Zahui made her mark upon the record books as the school’s all-time blocks leader (240) and the fourth sophomore to join the program’s 1,000-point club. She set Big Ten and school single-season rebounding records for the second straight year, pulling down 426 in 2014-15. Zahui’s average of 12.2 rebounds per game is the highest in program history, and she finished this past season ranked sixth on Minnesota’s single-season record chart in points, seventh in field goals and free throw attempts and ninth in field goal percentage and free throws.

Zahui had the top single-game marks in the NCAA this season with 29 rebounds, 12 blocks and a 1.000 (11-for-11) field goal percentage. She was an integral part of the Gophers squad which finished 23-10, its highest victory total in 10 years.

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