Gophers women's basketball committed to toughness, defense

  • Article by: Rachel Blount , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 2:02 AM

A prevalent work ethic means coach Pam Borton is free to drill the players hard on X’s and O’s rather than preach attitude.

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nomorebrewOct. 12, 13 9:38 AM

Here comes another year of the Pam Borton train wreck... Choo choo...

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regionguyOct. 12, 1310:54 AM

Have been following this program for a long time, and am not a Borton fan. I hope we see a major uplift this year, and I also hope we won't hear so much about Banham's point totals. Banham was indeed 2nd in the Big Ten in scoring, but she had to jack up a ton of shots to do that: she wasn't in the top 15 in the conference in FG%. At this point mentioning her in the same breath as Whalen is pretty much just hype: Whalen was a far better shooter, but more importantly she was deadly in crunch time and played tough D.

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SeaSharkOct. 12, 1312:57 PM

NORWOOD TEAGUE'S defiant refusal to fire Pam Borton the same day he fired Tubby Smith is the most profound mistake of his first year as U of M athletics director. He apparently doesn't have the same "high expectations" for the Gophers women's program that he articulated for the men's program when he fired Smith. Joel Maturi's decision last year to reward Borton's failure to take Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament for three (now four) consecutive years with a 2-year contract extension was unjustified and irresponsible. Maturi should have fired Borton when five players left the program in 2006. Instead, he hired a "people skills" consultant to reportedly help Borton treat players and athletic department personnel with basic common courtesy, and the rest is history: the team struggles to win half its games, no recent NCAA tourney appearances, and home attendance has fallen from nearly 11,000 per game to 3,000. The program has been in free fall decline since 2010 under Borton's tenure and Teague should have fired her to prevent the women's basketball program from hitting rock bottom. The Gophers women need and deserve a coach who has the vitality, communication savvy, recruiting and teaching skills, and decisive game management instincts to make Minnesota a consistent Top 20 program and legitimate national championship contender. Borton may sincerely believe that she meets all the criteria, but the team's four year regression provided evidence for Teague to conclude that she doesn't and fire her. The Star Tribune's April 2013 editorial discussing Tubby's departure observes: "By letting Smith go at this juncture, the U has established a demanding definition of success for Gopher basketball, one brimming with energy and determination to compete with the best." The U's refreshed standard of basketball excellence has brought the men's team a dynamic new head coach, and Teague should provide the same renewal ingredient for the women's team. His inexcusable decision to retain Borton suggests a complete indifference to the value and relevance of the women's program, and in my opinion is an inept failure of astute management and decisive leadership.

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bbloverOct. 12, 13 1:30 PM

HEAR, HEAR! TO ALL above commenters! Why, do we have 10 player squad? How many are women's programs allowed? No wonder we have not heard boo about them this off-season. Good Luck to the girls who are there, despite the coaching situation. Has the AD even considered the difference in revenue between 11,000 fans and 3,000? By the way, STRIB, how's the volleyball program?

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regionguyOct. 12, 13 1:58 PM

Anyone know why Kionna Kellogg left the program after starting all 32 games last year?

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SeaSharkOct. 12, 13 4:07 PM

NORWOOD TEAGUE'S rote cliché evasive answer several months ago to a Strib reporter's question about Pam Borton's tenure---"We are constantly evaluating our programs and trying to help improve them every day"---appears to be more evidence revealing an attitude of passive indifference towards the Gophers women's basketball program. Teague declined to specifically discuss Borton's continued employment in the context of the team's won-lost record the last four seasons: Overall 62-66; BIG 10 Regular Season 23-43; BIG 10 Tournament 1-4; NCAA Tournament--Not Selected. Teague also declined to offer any reasonable, justifiable, believable explanation for his decision to retain Borton as head coach. Strib writer Rachel Blount's failure to anticipate and answer in this news story the obvious question about why this year's team has a limited 10-player roster, and also address the public controversy surrounding Borton's stewardship of the program, is a negligent omission.

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nomorebrewOct. 12, 13 5:08 PM

@Sea Shark - Joel Maturi told me personally that HE didn't extend Borton's contract. It was her friend Kathryn Brown in the Presidents Office at the time who did. The place is fraught with dysfunction.

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