Irene Garrido and Paloma Gonzalez join Golden Gophers

Photo provided by University of Minnesota athletics
Photo provided by University of Minnesota athletics /

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were stuck in the back of the Big Ten pack last season, and they’re hoping a pair of Spanish recruits can begin the process of correcting that trend.

On Friday, Minnesota announced that Irene Garrido and Paloma Gonzalez signed National Letters of Intent and would join the team next season.

Garrido, a 6-foot-1-inch forward, moves to Minnesota after two years playing for Western Wyoming Community College. Her numbers weren’t explosive, but she had solid shooting splits in her most recent season at Western Wyoming, hitting 47.4 percent from the floor, 48.8 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the free throw line.

“Irene has a quick release and can score with incredible accuracy,” Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings said in a statement released by the university. “She is versatile, hard-working and has a high motor.”

A high motor could also summarize Gonzalez, who will join the Gophers as a freshman. The 5-foot-7-inch guard caught notice from international scouts, with praise going to her speed and scoring ability. Her skill set is similar to Kenisha Bell, who played the point guard role last year, so Gonzalez could potentially spell for Bell while maintaining their up-tempo desires.

“I am very excited to join such a great university that has produced amazing talents both on and off the court,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Coach Marlene’s coaching philosophy and style really caught my attention and now I have the opportunity to do great things within it.”

Garrido and Gonzalez also have experience in the youth levels of the Spanish national team.