Biggest crowd in 4 years sees Minnesota women lose by 22 to Nebraska

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2013 - 7:05 AM

The biggest home crowd in four years saw the U women give up their most points in a Big Ten game since 2006.

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regionguyJan. 20, 1310:21 PM

I can't believe Borton thinks the team has been playing "great basketball" up to this point. They haven't been horrible, but they have major weaknesses, not the least of which is Banham's ongoing horrible shooting.

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InformedOneJan. 20, 1310:43 PM

That was a truly demoralizing loss. It actually felt a lot like the Virgina game - BTN national audience, home game, high expectations, tough-but-not-elite team, complete defensive collapse and humiliation on the (intimidating?) home court. While there were some highlights in the game (Mulaney's acrobatic drive score, Hirt's off-the-dribble drifting-to-the-right jumper), Nebraska just came to play and the wheels came off in the the second half. Sadly, this game confirmed what I suspected after the Purdue game - the Gophers have a long way to go to be a factor in the Big Ten title chase. A few places to start would include a) Riche learning how to stay out of foul trouble early in the game so she can play more than 25 minutes (even if it means giving up some looks inside early), b) Banham has got to stop trying to "take the game over" when the Gophers get down by a few points (very poor shot selection while trying to make something happen tonight) and c) GET BACK ON DEFENSE AFTER MADE SHOTS! Improvement in these three areas alone would probably get the Gophers back on a track to go 9-7 in the league as they'll have gotten their three toughest road games out of the way after they play at Penn State this Thursday (@MSU and @Purdue already in the books). At this point, the Gophers are at best an NCAA bubble team, but more likely a WNIT representative barring improvement in a number of areas. Unfortunately, the Gopher game at Happy Valley will be televised nationally (BTN) this coming Thursday and, without drastic improvement, will probably be a 20-40 point blowout. Hopefully the Gophers can keep their heads held high going into Monday 28th at home against Illinois (also on BTN). No "easy" games until Northwestern in late February. JMHO. Go Gophers!

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acecatJan. 20, 1311:00 PM

I wonder how much they inflated the attendance. Didn't look like that on TV. The biggest attendance in four years just makes me mad that Borton let this once nationally elite program fall, administration too for letting her keep her job. Good for PB to give to charity considering her salary, not to mention her big bonus for winning post season tourney joke last year.

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tcarlsenJan. 21, 13 7:02 AM

The good news is that the team is young and will improve. The good news is that they are getting bigger and taller compared to the past few years. The recruiting class the last two years was very good and that will take time. Two freshman (including a redshirt) are starters, one starter is a sophomore, and the other two starters are juniors -- not one senior. Another highly touted-freshman is on the bench. The bad news is that their shooting percentage is aweful, and the three-point game is dreadful. By the way, the officiating was poor in this game. The Gophers did not really have 20 fouls.

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mettlerbullJan. 21, 13 7:55 AM

I'm sure the girls are giving it their all, but face it, this program has been fruitless under Borton's leadership. I can't help but think she'd be long gone, if her contract wasn't so near its end - that day can't come soon enough for Gopher women's basketball!

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tcarlsenJan. 21, 1310:08 AM

1) Borton's contract lasts through next season so let's see how they perform by then. It may take one more year beyond that. The team has talent but is young. 2) Getting bigger and being more forceful would help. On the bench are freshman forward 6' 2" Jackie Johnson and freshman center 6' 5" Amanda Zahui. Right now the Gophers start three players that are guards or forward/guard, which is a smaller position. Riche takes the tip-off at center but is not a real center, despite her strong season so far until the last two games.

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InformedOneJan. 21, 1310:36 AM

I agree that they are young, tcarlsen, and the B1G is tougher top-to-bottom now than it was during the Whalen/McCarville era (though there are no "super-elite" teams), but I'm hesitant to to have more than guarded optimism. I anticipate that Zahui B. will be a significant addition next year (although she's closer to 6'3" than 6'5") and Johnson has skill. I still see potential problems in the post, though, as Johnson has a similar frame to that of Katie Loberg and probably will get pushed around under the basket just as much. The Gophers need a truly BIG girl in reserve to clog the paint in B1G games if the starters get into foul trouble (which will be Zahui B. next year). I see a lot of strength in the guards + Hirt going forward, however. If Riche could be less foul-prone, she would have more McCarvillesque potential (also a 6'2" athletic center), but she doesn't have much height/size combination behind her so the team suffers greatly when sh is either a) having an off game or b) on the bench in foul trouble. I, personally, would love to see Borton turn this thing around and this core group has the potential to do it, but they really have to play smarter or they will end up 8-8 or worse this year. Time will tell if this is youth or bad coaching, but without steady improvement over the next year and a half, I'm inclined to think it's the latter.

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freedubayJan. 21, 1310:49 AM

How does this coach even have a job. Borton has singly handed destroyed a program that was on its rise before "coach" Borton took over.

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notsidJan. 21, 1311:46 AM

Same old, same old with the teams that Borton has recruited as oppoed to inherited. Strong start against relatively token opposition in non-conference play but very few wins against the good and even average conference teams...once again, nothing new here.

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rdilleyJan. 21, 1312:10 PM

Can any of the players actually jump off the floor? Have any of them ever heard of a head fake or any kind of a fake? Does Borton teach anything useful to them in practice? At times, it is embarrassing to watch them. Sorry, from what I have seen of this team, I don't come away with a whole lot of hope for the future!!! Even Banham....she is regressing!!!!

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