At one time, Miranda VanderWal focused on figure skating.
But as the 6-foot-6 center from Strathroy, Ontario, began to focus on basketball, playing in the NCAA in the United States was her dream.
VanderWal took a big step toward that dream earlier this week when the 2021 prospect made a verbal commitment to play college basketball at UND.
VanderWal, who plays for Southwest Academy and an Ontario provincial team, said she liked UND’s style of play and the community of Grand Forks, even though she’s only been able to hear about those elements. VanderWal was scheduled to visit UND this spring, but she has to wait now for the U.S.-Canada border to reopen before coming to Grand Forks.
“The Grand Forks community really minds me of my hometown in that it’s small and tight-knit,” VanderWal said. “Even though I haven’t been there, I feel like it’s a great fit.”
VanderWal said her strengths are providing energy and a defensive post presence.
“I’m super excited,” VanderWal said. “I just can’t wait to get out there and be a Fighting Hawk. I’m super excited to meet the team and see what UND has to offer.”
UND went 15-15 overall during the 2019-20 season, losing to South Dakota State in the opening round of the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls.
The Hawks only had one senior last year — point guard Alaina Jarnot. UND could return the team’s top seven scorers, a list that included four freshmen.
In the offseason, UND parted ways with head coach Travis Brewster. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, UND then announced it would halt its national search for a new coach and promoted Mallory Bernhard to interim head coach for the entire 2020-21 season.