We're Talking About (NCAA) Practice

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The University of Minnesota women's basketball team boarded its charter flight and headed out to South Bend, Ind., for the 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament late Tuesday night, sharing its flight with members of the U of M marching band, spirit squad and support staff.

But, before the Gophers took flight, they held their first practice at Williams Arena since learning Monday that they were selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years.
Sari Noga
Preparing for a DePaul team that ranks second in the NCAA in three-point field goals per game, the coaching staff enlisted the help of former Gopher Sari Noga, who ranks fifth all-time at Minnesota in three-pointers made, to join the team at practice as a scout player. Noga enthusiastically made the drive from Parkers Prairie to help out any way that she could.

"I was beyond ecstatic (when I heard the Gophers made the NCAA Tournament)," Noga said. "It's what these ladies have worked for all year and is what we worked for when I was here. It's exciting for them to have their dreams come true.

"Coach Mo asked me to come and shoot some three-pointers and I'm going to try to do that...we'll see how it goes," she said jokingly.

Minnesota followed that up with their first practice in South Bend on Wednesday afternoon, as Bethel College kindly shared its facilities with the Maroon and Gold. The excitement in the gym was undeniable as the Gophers diligently prepared for their First Round contest at Purcell Pavilion.

"We are super excitePractice d to be here. It is a great opportunity," Mikayla Bailey said. "Being here and practicing just makes (the team) want to get to the game even quicker. I can speak for all of us when I say we are super excited and can't wait until we get out on the court."

The Maroon and Gold will have one more practice on Thursday morning before taking the court against the Blue Demons Friday night.

Check back to Gophersports.com for daily updates from the events leading up to tip off.

-UM-


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