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-


Gophers Named Team of the Week by espnW

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After posting a 3-0 record this week with wins over No. 12/14 Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin, espnW named the University of Minnesota women's basketball team its Team of the Week. Read more about what espnW contributor Graham Hays had to say about the Gophers' impressive week. 

Go Gophers! Amanda Zahui B.Go Gophers!
From espnW (link to full article: es.pn/1xJ0ScU)
Minnesota: The timing of the holidays meant many teams played three games this past week, so Minnesota wasn't alone in piling up three wins, but it is one of just a smattering of teams already in possession of at least three conference victories. And while a 10-game winning streak overall matters, the longest such streak since the days of Lindsay Whalen, Janel McCarville and a Final Four trip, it matters less than a five-game winning streak contained within the longer streak since the Gophers lost All-American Rachel Banham for the season with an injury.

The first win was the hardest, the Gophers rallying from a 17-point deficit with 10 minutes to play against Nebraska to claim a 72-69 win. A victory at Purdue followed on New Year's Day, not bad for a team that won just four road games all of last season, and Sunday brought a rivalry win against Wisconsin. Amanda Zahui B. averaged 17.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the three wins to earn espnW player of the week, but moving on without Banham has been a collective effort. Along with Zahui, Shae Kelley, Shayne Mullaney and Carlie Wagner scored 81 percent of the team's points this past week but that was split almost evenly among the four of them.

It helped that Mullaney and Wagner, far from forcing the issue, combined for 33 assists and just six turnovers, compared to 62 assists and 43 turnovers previously. 

Gophers Set for B1G Media Day

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Head coach Marlene Stollings, seniors Rachel Banham and Shae Kelley and sophomore Amanda Zahui B. will represent the University of Minnesota women's basketball team at Big Ten Basketball Media Day Thursday in Chicago, Ill. The event, which takes place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, will have the quartet talking with local, regional and national media outlets, including BTN and ESPN.

Each of the 14 Big Ten women's basketball coaches will participate in a press conference Thursday morning, with Coach Marlene's presser set to stream live on BTN2Go beginning at 8:56 a.m. CT.

Along with her press conference, Coach Marlene, along with Banham, Kelley and Zahui B., will do interviews with BTN, participate in a photo shoot and sit down for one-on-one roundtable interviews with regional and local media.

Fans can get take part in media day by submitting their questions for Banham, Kelley and Zahui B. on Facebook and Twitter. The players will be answering fan questions via Vine beginning around 11 a.m.

BLOG: First Week of Practice

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Go Gophers! Shae KelleyGo Gophers!
The 2014-15 season officially got underway for the University of Minnesota women's basketball team last week when it opened preseason camp. It also marked the first week of practice for senior Shae Kelley as a Golden Gopher and her last as a student-athlete. Kelley shared her experience in a guest blog for Gophersports.com:

Go Gophers! Shae Kelley
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
The first week of practice at the U has been an exciting one, not just for me, but for the team as well. Having a new coaching staff, we were anxious to see how practice would flow. Not to our surprise, the coaches had prepared us for what practice would be like over the summer. But, instead of practice being one hour, it now is 2.5 to 3 hours of intense, but fun, work. We do a lot of full court drills, because the pace we want to play is fast. Much of our practice consists of playing against the scout team, whether it is half court or a full court scrimmage, we always are playing to win. It is very competitive and we appreciate that, because it is only making us better.

We also have plenty of fun as a team. It can't always be all work and no play. Our video shoots are always goofy and fun to be at, and our personalities really come out during these times. Being a fifth-year senior, this is my last go-round and I want to cherish it as much as I can. My focus on the court is more intense than it's ever been and I know that we have the pieces of the puzzle to make a great run this year. I am excited to play my final year of college with this group of ladies and staff.

I can't wait to see all of our fans at Williams Arena this season.

Shae Kelley
  

Gopher Alum Begins Head Coaching Tenure

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Go Gophers! Kelly RoyslandGo Gophers!
As student-athletes at the University of Minnesota gear up for the first day of classes today on campus, former Gopher basketball player Kelly Roysland will also kick off her first day of school as the head coach of the women's basketball program at Macalester College in St. Paul. Roysland, who starred for the Maroon and Gold from 2004-07, was named the new head coach of the Scots on Aug. 18 and started in her new role on Aug. 29

"I am thrilled and honored to be the next women's basketball coach at Macalester College," Roysland said in a release announcing her hiring. "It is a great school, in a competitive conference and I am looking forward to leading the women's basketball program."

Roysland finished her basketball career at Minnesota ranked 12th (currently 16th) on Minnesota's all-time scoring list with 1,074 career points. She averaged 8.5 points per game over 126 contests for the Gophers, including a team-high 13.2 points per game during her senior season in 2006-07.

As a senior, Roysland was named Minnesota's Most Valuable Player, while earning All-Big Ten third team accolades from the conference's media members and honorable mention honors from the league's coaches. She also fared well in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten acclaim her final three seasons with the Gophers, and was a two-time recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2007 and 2008.

During her Gopher career, Minnesota made three trips to the NCAA Tournament and one appearance in the WNIT. Roysland played in nine NCAA Tournament games, which included reserve roles on the Golden Gophers' 2004 Final Four team and 2005 Sweet Sixteen squad, while averaging 6.6 points per game in those nine contests.

Roysland earned her bachelor's degree in sport management, graduating from Minnesota in 2007 with a 3.365 grade point average. She then compiled a 3.860 GPA to receive a master's degree in exercise science from Minnesota in 2009. She received the University of Minnesota's Presidential Leadership Award in 2007. She is one of three former Gopher players - Carol Ann Shudlick and Lindsay Whalen being the others -- with an endowed scholarship in her name.

Roysland also served as an assistant coach at Minnesota for four seasons (2010-14), where she worked with the Gophers' guards, as well as having responsibilities with scouting and recruiting. She aided Minnesota in securing the 17th-ranked recruiting class in 2011 and the 34th-ranked recruiting class in 2010 nationally. She also helped guide the team's guards to numerous accolades, including six All-Big Ten honors, WBCA All-Region 6 and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors.

Her father, Mike Roysland, is the head women's basketball coach at Division II member UM Crookston.

Join the Gophers at the MN State Fair

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham at State FairGo Gophers!
Head coach Marlene Stollings and members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team will join the throngs headed for the "Great Minnesota Get Together" Wednesday, as the squad is scheduled to make its annual appearance at the Minnesota State Fair on the U of M Building stage at 4 p.m. The Gophers will preview the 2014-15 season and participate in a question and answer session. 

The U of M Building is located on Dan Patch Ave., and also houses videos and photos from the 2013-14 athletic season, as well as Golden Gopher merchandise. 

Full Minnesota Women's Basketball State Fair Schedule
12:30 p.m. - Coach Marlene and Rachel Banham on 1500 ESPN with Mackey and Judd
3:15 p.m. - Coach Marlene and Rachel Banham on 105 The Ticket with Mike Morris and Bob Sansevere
4 p.m. - Coach Marlene and Gophers on stage at the UofM Building
4:45 p.m. - Coach Marlene and Gophers live on WCCO-TV
5:15 p.m. - Coach Marlene and Rachel Banham on 1500 ESPN with Patrick Reusse

All Access: Stollings' First Pitch

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University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings was able to live out one of her life-long dreams when she was asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game on Sept. 6. Go behind the scenes with Coach Marlene leading up to the pitch and as she steps on the mound at Target Field. 

Hoops Scramble Rewind

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The Minnesota Women's Basketball Hoops Scramble golf event proved once again to be a huge success in its 12th year.  The event, which is the Fast Break Club's largest annual fundraiser, attracted nearly 100 golfers to Oak Marsh Golf Course in Oakdale, Minn., and raised nearly $50,000 to benefit the Golden Gopher women's basketball team.

Auctions brought in a large portion of the funds raised, while sponsors, paid golfers and diners were the other main contributors to the total.

Silent and live auction items included dinner with head coach Marlene Stollings and her staff, a trip for two to an away game with team, an invitation for 10 to an exclusive team BBQ, dinner and date nights around the Twin Cities and official team apparel, among many additional items.

Current Minnesota women's basketball staff and team members participated in the event, mingling with golfers, sponsors, volunteers, players and staff. 

Hoops Scramble Silent Auction is Live

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Hoops Scramble XII Save the Date

August 4, 2014

The silent auction is now live for the 12th Annual Golden Gopher Women's Basketball Hoops Scramble Golf Tournament, which will be held today at Oak Marsh Golf Course in Oakdale, Minn. The event is the Fast Break Club's biggest annual fundraising event and supports the University of Minnesota women's basketball program. 

New this year, even Gopher fans not able to attend the golf outing have the opportunity to bid on great items from the silent auction from your computer, tablet or phone by clicking here and registering for the auction. Then you can bid on all of the items available.

Head coach Marlene Stollings and her staff, as well as select players, will be on hand for the event, which includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, dinner, a program and an auction. 

The golf scramble is set to begin at 12:00 p.m., with dinner to follow at approximately 5:30 p.m. A silent auction will begin at 11:00 a.m. in conjunction with registration, while a live auction is set to correlate with the start of dinner.

Auction items could include exclusive trips with the team and VIP access to Stollings and/or her staff.

-UM-

Stollings to Throw Out First Pitch

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Go Gophers! Marlene Stollings

University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Minnesota Twins vs. San Diego Padres game Aug. 6 at Target Field. The game is slated to begin at 12:10 p.m., and will be televised on Fox Sports North. 

Stollings was named the 11th head coach of the University of Minnesota women's basketball program on April 7, 2014, following two successful years at Virginia Commonwealth University where she led the Rams to a 33-29 record and one of the top turnarounds in the nation in 2013-14. Prior to that, Stollings led a one-year resurgence at Winthrop University in 2011-12, where the Eagles posted just their second winning season in the last 26 years of the program.

Since her arrival, Stollings has already begun introducing her signature fast-paced style of play and added her first signee, senior transfer Shae Kelley, to the Golden Gopher roster.

Below are the promotions for the Twins' meeting with the Padres on Aug. 6, which would be a great way to take in some lunch and some baseball fun with Coach Marlene and her staff:
  • Midwest Music Showcase presented by 96.3 K-TWIN

    Musical performances by prominent local bands every Wednesday home game May through September. Fans can play Twingo every Wednesday, courtesy of Minnesota's Corn Farmers.

  • Schweigert Dollar-A-Dog Day

    Hot dogs are just $1 at the Hennepin Grille and Taste of Twin Territory concession stands. (Limit 20,000 per game; 2 per person)

  • Split the Pot Raffle

    Every home game throughout the 2014 season, the Minnesota Twins Split the Pot Raffle will benefit the Twins Community Fund. One lucky winner will take home HALF the net proceeds from that day's raffle.

  • Student Day

    Standing-room only tickets are just $5 for students. (Available day of game only at the Target Field Box Office beginning at 9 a.m. Limit one ticket per student with valid ID.)

  • The Our Family Section

    Starting at just $10*, receive a ticket in the alcohol-free The Our Family Section (sections 310, 311) and receive a FREE Schweigert? hot dog and Pepsi. (*$18 for Value, $25 for Select, $32 for Premium, $40 for Elite games. Hot dog and soda available at the Hennepin Grille by section 311.)

  • Treasure Island Resort & Casino Senior Days

    Fans 55 and better receive a $5 discount on Field Box and Powerball® Pavilion tickets for all weekday day games. (Offer available by phone and in-person only. Tickets subject to availability. Not available 4/7.)

For more information on the contest or to purchase tickets online, visit MinnesotaTwins.com.


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