Gophers women falter late in loss

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: February 11, 2013 - 8:02 AM

Tied with 5:54 left, Minnesota was outscored 16-6 down the stretch and fell to 4-7 in the Big Ten.

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InformedOneFeb. 10, 1310:34 PM

While I tried to remain optimistic about the Gopher's chances in this one, my intuition told me that the game might unfold like this. The Gophers haven't beaten a quality B1G team on the road for over three years and I thought it unlikely that it would happen against this reborn Illinois team. Really, the Gophers always matched up poorly again Jollet Law's athletic recruits (even when they were streetballin' under her tutelage) but now that they have an actual defensive philosophy and quality game planning under Matt Bollant, the odds of winning against them are significantly reduced. It was a better defensive effort than the Goph's had at the Barn (though anything would have been an improvement over that historic defensive debacle). The Illini hounded Banham and the Gophers simply weren't quick enough passing out of the "buzz" and didn't spread the floor enough on offense get get the easy points that this defense should afford. Unfortunately, the last flickering hopes of an NCAA tournament berth were probably extinguished with this loss as the odds of getting five wins over the next 6-7 games (including the B1G tourney) are pretty slim. The scheduling gods certainly weren't kind to the Gophers this year and I think that they would have had a much better chance of getting to the magic 20 wins with Illinois' schedule than with the rugged gauntlet they were subjected to. Seven of Illinois' games are against the bottom four teams in the league (four at home) while only five of the Gophers' games are against these opponents (two at home with two against 9th place Ohio State). On the other side of the spectrum, Illinois plays the top six (excluding themselves and including Iowa) only six times with only four games against the top three while the Gophers have ten games against the top six (excluding Iowa) and six games against the top three. In any event, "you are what your record says you are" and the Gophers are a quality WNIT entrant this year in all likelihood. Hopefully we get a few nice home games to start the tournament because, despite the ups and downs, I have enjoyed watching this year's team. Chin up ladies and let's try to finish up strong! Go Gophers!

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regionguyFeb. 10, 1310:54 PM

InformmedOne, as usual I agree with you on this one. Bottom line for me is that the Gophers' season this year is pretty simple: if Banham is hot from the field they have a chance at winning, and if she's not, they will probably lose. Today she was cold from the field, though as usual her FT-shooting was excellent. Plus the Gophers rebounded poorly in the second half. To borrow a phrase from hockey, they seem to lack some grit this year, though I will keep pulling for them.

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azmnbbFeb. 11, 13 6:48 AM

Talent is probably below par, but the biggest problem is poor coaching. How many times did the Gophers attempt an over the head, across court pass that was intercepted? Quite a few. What did Borton do? Nothing. She made no attempt to correct it. In other games, the players got into repetitive moves that caused them to lose the ball, and Borton again did nothing.

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raymondb62Feb. 11, 13 1:18 PM

The team did try to stay aggressive and took the ball to the hoops more than they did the first time these two teams met. However, their defense is almost non-existent, particularly on the inside. We are hampered by the fact that we don't have a true shot blocker inside so other teams don't fear coming inside against us. Riche and Kellogg don't have the size or aggressiveness to be a shot blocker and Loberg, for all her size, is not a natural post defender and doesn't really set herself well for blocks. Hopefully Zahui B has some natural shot blocking talent to add to the mix next year!

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bbloverFeb. 11, 13 1:23 PM

I thought I was the only person in this state who cared enough to say the obvious, Pam Borton is a mediocre coach,at best, and has no business being employed by a top flight program. We deserve better, the kids deserve better. If it was the men's program admin would be paying attention, at least. Women? I guess she's "good enough"!

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SeaSharkFeb. 11, 13 1:28 PM

NORWOOD TEAGUE must immediately negotiate a Gophers basketball buyout package that will rid Minnesota of Tubby Smith and Pam Borton, because Tubby Time and the Pam Borton Era have proven disasterous. The men's program is a shambles, staggering to another NIT appearance. The women's program continues to implode as attendance averages less than 4,000 tickets sold per game. Smith and Borton have no credibility, and cannot be allowed to remain U of M employees in any capacity under any circumstances.

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raymondb62Feb. 11, 13 2:46 PM

I agree that it's time that Coach B is shown the door but if she can limp her way into the WNITs, she may scratch out another year since the Women's program can't seem to get any attention either in the ADs office or in the media. Look at today, three articles on the Gopher men's game and one report on the Women's game, and that was a "Wire report".

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heroldFeb. 11, 13 4:49 PM

A tough day at the office for Banham. Maybe she needs to rest for a few minutes when she looks less than 100%. The other players should accept their roles and could go deep in WNIT.

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InformedOneFeb. 11, 13 6:29 PM

Ideally, I agree that Borton should be removed if the Gophers don't hit 20 wins this year (and a NCAA berth should be included in the equation), but I don't run the program and I think Borton may do just enough to stay out the final two years on her contract. Realistically, the Gophers will probably finish the season in the 50-70 RPI range with about a 19-13 record (following the B1G tournament). Throw in a couple of wins in the WNIT (which is likely as the Gophers will probably be a strong WNIT team with a couple of home games and could go deep), and you have a 21-14 record on the conservative side. This will certainly be enough to get Borton another year on a team starting no seniors and sophomore and freshmen guards that had an RPI of 122 last year. I can't imagine that they will do worse next year with the addition of Zahui B. in the middle so I suspect that the final year on her contract is more likely than not. JMHO.

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acecatFeb. 11, 13 9:37 PM

There was a time when Gopher PR people actually helped the Strib out with game articles on the road. What's up with a story written by the Illinois PR people in our paper? Informed one...we are stuck with Borton until 16-17 thanks to secret extension, probably for winning joke WBI last year. Attendance -- the decline is insane. Averages now resemble Littlejohn numbers. We're taking decline of 300 maybe more percent here. Unacceptable! A men's coach would be fired just for that. If Banham saves Borton for another few years, the program only suffers.

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