Gophers Give Alumni Warm Welcome-Back

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History and tradition have long been a large part of the foundation of the Minnesota women's basketball program, and Sunday's game against Northwestern served as a warm "Welcome Back!" to the former Gophers that paved the way for the players that reap the benefits of their hard work and sacrifices today.

Over 50 former Gophers and their families made their way to Williams Arena Sunday to watch Minnesota handily defeat the Wildcats, 94-59, behind a complete team effort on both ends of the floor. But, prior to taking in all of the action on the court, the alumni were able to reminisce and mingle with each other, head coach Pam Borton and the Gopher coaching staff at a pregame reception in the Williams Arena Club Room.

Go Gophers! Final Four Alumni
Go Gophers!Members of the 2004 Final Four team at Alumni Day
Front row (L-R): Shannon Schonrock, Lori Dimitroff, Brian Frye (Director of Operations), April Calhoun
Go Gophers!Back row (L-R): Michael Fischer (Video Coordinator), Moira Novak (Director of Athletic Medicine), Hannah Garry, Jamie Broback, Leslie Hill, Shannon Bolden, Chris Norman (Manager)


At halftime, each of the former Gophers headed onto the raised floor to be recognized by their loyal fans. The fans that still remember each moment of their playing careers. It was a treat for the Gopher faithful to see how their favorite players have blossomed in their lives since their time at Minnesota and to see their growing families.

Those same fans had the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Minnesota's magical run to 2004 NCAA Final Four and the players that made up that remarkable team in the second half. Each member of the Final Four squad received a commemorative plaque and were able to watch a special highlight reel of their journey to New Orleans.

Fans and alumni that weren't in attendance can watch highlights from the 2003-04 season in the video above and check out photos from Alumni Day in the attached photo gallery.   

 

Gophers Spread Holiday Cheer

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Go Gophers! Gophers
Go Gophers!Go Gophers!
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Just days after shopping for Toys for Tots and St. Joseph's Home for Children, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team got back into the giving spirit Tuesday, shopping for and donating gifts to the Amplatz Children's Hospital and a family which it adopted through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.

The Gophers used their own money, as well as funds donated by the women's basketball staff, to shop for gifts at Target on Monday night. The team carefully hand-selected presents for more than 10 children at the hospital and picked out items from the family's list, which included a mother, a 13-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy.

The first stop for the team was at Amplatz on Tuesday morning, where it dropped off its gifts and visited with numerous patients and their parents. Along with the gifts they had shopped for, the Gophers also handed out posters and Minnesota head gear on each of its stops.

Later that day, the Gophers headed out to St. Paul to deliver gifts to their adopted family, which had two children who just-so-happened to be big basketball fans. 

Gophers Shop for Tots

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Go Gophers! Sari Noga and Joanna Hedstrom
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

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Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team used their break from games to start spreading holiday cheer to the Twin Cities community, as they shopped for and donated items for Toys for Tots and St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The money used to purchase gifts was donated by Gopher fans during toy drives held at select Minnesota home events, including women's and men's basketball and men's hockey games. In addition to the toys that were donated at the contests, fans also gave cash donations which equaled $3,000.

Senior Sari Noga and freshman Joanna Hedstrom took a portion of those donations to Target and selected gifts for the sometimes-forgotten teenage group, who also receive gifts through the toy drives set up on campus. Noga and Hedstrom carefully chose gifts such as books, CDs, makeup, perfume, hats and scarves and art supplies and then dropped off their gifts at St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The Gophers have a long tradition of giving back to the community, especially around the holiday season. Stay posted to gophersports.com to see how else the women's basketball team plans to give back during their break from classes.    

Banham Blogs for espnW

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

University of Minnesota junior guard Rachel Banham was selected to write a blog for espnW, where she will give fans an inside look at her life and chronicle the Gophers' 2013-14 season. In her first post of the year, Banham talks about her family and how her brothers helped her become the basketball player she is today.

You can read her blog by clicking here:

Banham Receives Recognition from espnW

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
espnW's Top Five at Each Position

There has never been a doubt in the minds of Golden Gopher women's basketball fans that junior guard Rachel Banham is one of the best point guards in the country, and now the nation is taking notice as well. In a list of its top-five women's basketball players at each position, espnW recognized the Lakeville, Minn., native as one of the five-best point guards in the NCAA as selected by Charlie Creme, Kate Fagan, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel.

Banham was joined on the list by Baylor's Odyssey Sims, Oklahoma State's Tiffany Bias, Duke's Chelsea Gray and UConn's Bria Hartley, while fellow Big Ten standouts Maggie Lucas (Penn State) and Jordan Hooper (Nebraska) were listed among the top shooting guards and a small forwards, respectively.

The recognition is definitely fitting for the guard, as Banham was a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore after averaging 20.7 points and 3.9 assists per game. Her points-per-game average ranked 14th overall nationally, while she was the second-leading sophomore scorer in the NCAA. Banham recorded 16 20-plus point performances and five 30-plus point games last season, which included three 30-point outing over a four-game stretch of Big Ten contests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7.

Banham enters her third season at Minnesota with 1,243 career points, which ranks 14th on the Gophers' all-time scoring list and is 151 points ahead of the total all-time leading scorer Lindsay Whalen scored during her first two seasons.



 


One Media Day Down, One to Go

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Minnesota women's basketball took part in the first of two Media Days this week, as head coach Pam Borton and the team's three captains -- senior Sari Noga, senior Micaella Riche and junior Rachel Banham -- met with reporters at Minnesota Basketball Media Day inside Williams Arena.

Borton and Banham took part in Media Day Live, as Gopher Radio Network play-by-play men Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes spent about 10 minutes interviewing them about the upcoming season. The Gophers play the first of two exhibitions on Tuesday night, facing Winona State at The Barn at 7:00 p.m.

Coach Borton then addressed members of the media in a 15-minute press conference, followed by a 15-minute presser with the three captains.

After the team plays its exhibition game Tuesday, Coach Borton, Banham, Noga and Riche will depart late Wednesday afternoon for Thursday's Big Ten Media Day in Chicago. That will take place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, making this a busy week for Borton and the players.

After they return from Chicago, Minnesota will play its second exhibition on Saturday afternoon, as it welcomes Minnesota State Moorhead to Williams Arena for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.

For Tuesday's exhibition, all youth 7th grade and under will be admitted free of charge if they are wearing a Halloween costume, and those interested can take place in a costume contest at the half. All tickets for both exhibition games are just $6.

For ticket information, visit mygophersports.com, or call 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER.

Tip-Off Dinner is a Success

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The Minnesota women's basketball program celebrated with its most loyal donors and fans on Wednesday evening, as the Fast Break Club held its annual Tip-Off Dinner at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Head coach Pam Borton spoke to a nice-sized crowd that came to hear about the upcoming season. Borton introduced her staff, which remains the same for the third-straight season this year. She then introduced two of the Gophers' three captains - senior guard Sari Noga and junior guard Rachel Banham. Senior forward Micaëlla Riché was unable to attend due to a class conflict.

Minnesota is less than two weeks away from its first exhibition game against Winona State. The Gophers and Warriors will play at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased by calling 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at mygophersports.com.

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Parade, Practice and Special Delivery

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Minnesota women's basketball players had a busy Monday. In addition to their class schedules for the day, members of the team who didn't have a class conflict got together this morning to head over to Hennepin Avenue and watch the Minnesota Lynx victory parade. Pictured above are (l-r) Rachel Banham, Kayla Hirt, Amanda Zahui B., Sari Noga, Jackie Johnson, Stabresa McDaniel and Shayne Mullaney.

The Gophers joined thousands of others who gathered in the cool weather to celebrate Minnesota's second WNBA title in three years. Two key members of the Lynx are former Golden Gopher stars Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville. It was the second WNBA title for Whalen, while McCarville enjoyed her first-ever victory parade.

The stay at the parade was somewhat brief, as the team had been scheduled to practice from Noon to 3:00 p.m., but bumped the start of practice back an hour to allow those who wanted to see the parade the chance to go. So, once back on campus, the players geared up for a two-hour workout at Williams Arena.

Head coach Pam Borton's team is entering its third week of full workouts, and the Gophers' first exhibition game is just two weeks away! Minnesota will play host to Winona State on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that exhibition game, as well as the Gophers' game against Minnesota State Moorhead on Nov. 2, are on sale for $6.

To purchase tickets to any game, or to become season ticket-holders, contact Minnesota's Athletics Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 | 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at mygophersports.com.

Speaking of tickets, members of the team ended their busy day by dividing up into three small groups after practice, and they headed off to personally deliver 2013-14 season tickets to several lucky Gopher women's basketball fans.

As they did last season, the Gophers added a personal touch to some of their biggest fans by showing up at their door to drop off the season tickets the fans ordered. Minnesota's players and coaches are so appreciative of the tremendous following they have from their loyal fans, and the team can't wait to have the chance to play games with those fans in their seats at Williams Arena. Go Gophers!

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Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Mikayla Bailey, Sue Corbin, Karen Lueck, Micaella Riche, and Jackie Johnson.

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Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Jackie Johnson, Mary Beth Barry, Micaella Riche, and Mikayla Bailey.

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Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Karen and Cordell Guse, Shayne Mullaney.

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Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Betsy Mitchell, Rachel Banham, Paul Mitchell, Shayne Mullaney.

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Pictured above (l-r): Cynthia Fay, Shayne Mullaney, Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Stephanie Fay.

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Pictured above (l-r): Sari Noga, Dave Mona, Stabresa McDaniel.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Annette Margarit, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Pam and Robert Berkwitz, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Olivia, Margaret Chutich, and Sari Noga.

Whalen and McCarville Earn Their Title

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McCarville's Fancy Pass | McCarville's Rainbow Jumper | Trophy Presentation
Minnesota's WNBA Playoff Run in Photos (MPR) | Minnesota Lynx Recap

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Ten years after they began a collegiate season that led them to the NCAA Final Four as stars for the University of Minnesota, former Gopher women's basketball standouts Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville have finally won a title together.

Thursday night in Atlanta, the duo combined for 25 points and nine assists, as their Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream, 86-77, to sweep the series and win its second WNBA crown in three years.

Whalen scored 15 points, dished out six assists and grabbed three rebounds, while McCarville added 10 points, three assists, two steals and a pair of boards for the Lynx.

Whalen and McCarville also combined for 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Game 2 victory against the Dream at Target Center. For the WNBA Finals, Whalen averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds, while McCarville averaged 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

One of the defining moments of last night's title-clinching win in Atlanta was McCarville's steal, drive and amazing pass between her legs to Rebekkah Brunson on a fast break. That play helped give the Lynx some breathing room during a third-quarter run, allowing McCarville to earn her first WNBA title and give Whalen her second.

Minnesota women's basketball fans were so proud to see Whalen and McCarville walk off the court with their Lynx teammates last night. Congratulations on an amazing feat, 10 years after the incredible season for the Maroon and Gold!

Gophers Say Thanks to Deborah Olson

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Head coach Pam Borton and the Golden Gophers took some time before practice on Wednesday to personally thank Deborah Olson for her support of the Minnesota women's basketball program.

The coaches and players signed a large thank you card, which they presented to Deborah as the team huddled at mid court prior to practice. Deborah, who has provided support for multiple projects in athletics, took some time to speak to the team, and the group posed for a picture before starting practice.

"Deborah's friendship has meant a lot to Minnesota athletics and myself for many years," Borton said. "She is always willing to step to the plate to help make our program successful. She's very unselfish, because she doesn't do this for the recognition, but it means a lot to us that she is willing to go above and beyond to help keep our program competitive."