Laura Bagwell-Katalinich one of several former Ivy standouts going home

Laura Bagwell-Katalinich will join Minnesota as a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility. (Minnesota Athletics)

Ryan Betley decided to leave the east coast for his graduate transfer year at California, but the trend has been transfers opting to move closer to home, like Seth Towns and Bryce Aiken.

Laura Bagwell-Katalinich is headed home too.

The former Cornell standout and Minneapolis native committed last month to Minnesota, another Ivy homecoming and the next chapter for one of the Ancient Eight’s most accomplished players from the past two seasons.

Bagwell-Katalinich averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in two seasons at Cornell that included a junior season in which she was named an All-Ivy first-teamer as the Big Red made an Ivy League Tournament appearance. She led the team in scoring and rebounding in both of her seasons in Ithaca, and her averages in those categories were third- and fifth-best in program history.

Bagwell-Katalinich had previously played three games for Penn in 2016-17 before transferring and sitting out the 2017-18 season accordingly.

Prior to that, though, Bagwell-Katalinich was a Ms. Minnesota Basketball nominee, unanimous Tri-Metro Player of the Year and Minnesota Girls Basketball All-Star in 2016, earning four varsity letters in basketball at the Academy of the Holy Angels.

A phone call from Minnesota coach and alumna Lindsay Whalen prompted Bagwell-Katalinich to leave the east coast, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

“I don’t know why I didn’t see Minnesota as my No. 1 option. But now it’s kind of a picture-perfect comeback to your home state,” Bagwell-Katalinich told the Star Tribune. “The home fans, to play for a Minnesota legend of a coach. It seems too good to be true, to be honest.”

The Star Tribune predicted that Bagwell-Katalinich would vie for significant playing time and could start against bigger teams, and Whalen told the newspaper that Bagwell-Katalinich, a 6-foot forward, would fill a “position of need.”

Minnesota has stocked up on transfers to fortify that position, including two 6-foot-3 talents whose signings were announced after Bagwell-Katalinich’s: Nebraska transfer Kayla Mershon and Daja Woodard, who played at Jones County Community College in Ellisville, Miss., last year.

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