Gophers Have Fun at Women Run the Cities

| No TrackBacks

Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball program, as well as its booster organization the Fast Break Club, were on hand at the third annual Women Run the Cities event at Minnehaha Park on Sunday.

Members of the team, as well as Goldy Gopher, helped line the course and provided loud cheers for the combined total of  3,000 competitors in the three races -- the Girls 1-mile Fun Run, the Women's 10-mile Run, and the Women's 5K Run/Walk.

Assistant coach Kelly Roysland and women's basketball office director Deborah Edwards both competed in the 5K event. Roysland finished 33rd among 115 competitors in her age group, while Edwards was 52nd out of 164 competing in her age group.

The event was organized by the Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW), with proceeds benefitting the Ann Bancroft Foundation and the CREW Network Foundation.

DSC_0015.jpg
Pictured: (front, l-r) Mikayla Bailey, Kayla Hirt, Shayne Mullaney. (back, l-r) Stabresa McDaniel, Sari Noga, Rachel Banham, Amanda Zahui B., Joanna Hedstrom, Micaella Riche.
DSC_0002.jpg










Pictured: Rachel Rodenborg and Sue Corbin of the Fast Break Club.















DSC_0009.jpg
Pictured: Henry (dog), Kerry Edwards, Deborah Edwards, Eric Curry, Kelly Roysland, Karen Lueck and Sue Corbin.














DSC_0014.jpg
Pictured: Karen Lueck, Goldy Gopher, Sue Corbin.

Newcomer Profile: Stabresa McDaniel

| No TrackBacks
_11E5440.JPG

Stabresa McDaniel is one of three freshmen on this year's roster. A 5-foot-10 guard from Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS), McDaniel is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a three-star ranking from ESPN.com, and was ranked No. 56 nationally at her position. She talks about her decision to leave the Lone Star State and play for the Gophers, as well as how summer training and her college life are going so far.

How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises?
College is going great so far! I knew it would different from high school, and I'm adjusting very well with my classes, teammates, and amazing coaches.

Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what to expect?
I don't know if anyone can be well prepared for what to expect for summer training as a freshman. You just have to get yourself mentally prepared before workouts and grind it out. For next year, since I already know some things, I would just workout on my own and work on areas that I want to get better at.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at Minnesota?
I just enjoy being around my team. It's good for us to be close, both on and off the court.

Being from Dallas, how long had Minnesota been on your radar as a possible college choice? What were the biggest influences on your decision to attend the U of M?
Minnesota was one of my top picks since the end of my junior year. I finally committed the beginning of my senior year after my visit. My dad was the biggest influence on helping me make my decision to come to the U of M. He is always someone I go to when I need to make big decisions. I just wanted to be someplace where it felt like a second home to me, and Minnesota was the right place to be.

What is something that hardly anyone knows about you?
Most people don't know that, as a kid, track used to be my main sport, not basketball. I really wanted to get a scholarship for track until eighth grade, when I started to love basketball more, and eventually gave up track to pursue basketball.

When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do you enjoy doing most?
When I'm by myself, I usually just listen to music and watch a movie on Netflix. It keeps me entertained when I want to take a break from studying.

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do before a game?
Before and after my games, I always pray to clear my head to get focused. I also always put on my right sock before my left. I think, if I don't do that routine, I will have bad luck.

What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday playlist?
To get me pumped on gameday, I have to listen to Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, and J Cole.

How old were you when you started playing basketball, and what's your favorite basketball-related memory to this point?
My dad put me in basketball at age four. I played on a little YMCA team for a little bit, until I got older. My favorite basketball memory has to be my very last home game in high school. It was our Senior Night, my team did very well and it had finally hit me that I would be going off to college in a couple of months.

Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career? And who is the player you admire most?
My biggest influence is my dad. Without him, I wouldn't have made it this far with his words of wisdom to keep me going. He has always been there for me, and I just want to make him proud. My two favorite players that I admire the most are Candace Parker and Maya Moore. I admire how much poise and love of the game they have for basketball, and they are team players.

Do you have a nickname?
Bree.

Newcomer Profile: Joanna Hedstrom

| No TrackBacks
Hedstrom.jpg

Joanna Hedstrom is one of three freshmen on the University of Minnesota's 2013-14 roster. A 6-foot-1 guard from Minnetonka High School, Hedstrom is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a four-star ranking from ESPN.com, and she holds Minnetonka's school records for career points scored and assists. She talks about staying close to home to play for the Gophers, the team she's watched since she was a kid, as well as her biggest basketball influence and something few people know about her.

How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises?
My adjustment to the college life is going well! I enjoy my classes, living in an apartment, and meeting new people. There haven't been too many surprises, but my very busy schedule has taken a little getting used to.

Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what to expect?
I think I was mentally prepared for this summer, and ready to work hard and get something out of each workout. But, next year, I will definitely benefit from being physically stronger going into the summer and having one more year of experience.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at Minnesota?
What I enjoy most about being part of the Minnesota program are the people! I love my teammates, coaches and all the support that we receive as student-athletes to be successful. I'm excited for my career as a Gopher.

Being from Minnetonka, had you always wanted to play for the Golden Gophers? What were the biggest influences on your decision to stay close to home?
Yes, I have always wanted to play for the Gophers. I have been going to the Gopher camps since I was little, and going to the games with my mom and little sister for years. I was even a "Ball Girl" at one point, too! Because of this, I could always imagine myself at the U. Ultimately, I chose to stay close to home and attend the University of Minnesota because of the great coaching staff and the visions those coaches have for the basketball program and the opportunity of a great education through the Carlson School of Management and Honors Program.

What is something that hardly anyone knows about you?
I can dribble the basketball with my knees.

When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do you enjoy doing most?
Other than basketball, I love spending time with my friends and family, reading, listening to music, and waterskiing at my cabin in the summers.

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do before a game?
Before games I listen to music, get pumped with my teammates, and sometimes eat an apple or other light snack.

What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday playlist?
There is no one song that I listen to before games, but some artists that are on my gameday playlist include Drake, Macklemore, and Jay-Z.

How old were you when you started playing basketball, and what's your favorite basketball-related memory to this point?
I was in third grade when I first played on a team, but I remember dribbling a basketball in my driveway when I was even younger than that. My favorite basketball memory to-date is not a specific memory -- it's the ten years that I played AAU basketball. I played with Mikayla Bailey for nine years and Shayne Mullaney for one year, and in general, most of my best basketball memories are from AAU. I especially loved the competition, teammates, and traveling.

Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career? And who is the player you admire most?
My parents have had the biggest impact on my basketball career. My dad developed me as a player by being an amazing coach and always rebounding for me, and my mom helped me with my basketball IQ and always taking me up to the gym to get better. The player I admire most is Courtney Vandersloot from the Chicago Sky. I love her passing ability and basketball IQ, as well as the way she is a leader on the floor. 

Do you have a nickname?
I was named after my Grandma Jo, so everyone who knows me well calls me Jo. Also, Amanda Zahui B. started calling me "Mojo" this summer. People from my high school team have called me "Nanners," and "Jojo" is another common one, too.

Borton Speaks at Northfield Fund-Raiser

| No TrackBacks
DSC_0969.JPG


Minnesota head coach Pam Borton was one of several speakers at an important fund-raising event at Target Center on Saturday evening.

The "Links to the Past, Lynx to the Future" event served to help raise funds for a new basketball court and historical display as part of a new YMCA in the community where the sport of "Basket Ball" was first introduced in the state of Minnesota.

Max J. Exner was a friend and roommate of James Naismith, who is credited for founding the sport of basketball. When Exner moved to Northfield in 1892, he and his brother, Franz, are credited with first introducing the sport to Minnesotans. More importantly, the Exners taught the sport to the women of Carleton College, and women's basketball quickly spread across the state.

For the first time in history, Minnesota girls and women were participating in a team sport during an era that unfortunately lasted only 40 years. In the mid-1920's, state and national groups came to believe that intense competition posed the potential for negative effects on young women, and an entire generation of women were left with virtually no options for competitive sports for several decades until Title IX came into effect in 1972.

Northfield, home of Carleton College, now has the opportunity to build a YMCA community center, and key figures like Coach Borton, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, Timberwolves and Lynx majority owner Glen Taylor, and University of Minnesota Board of Regents member Peggy Lucas (also the granddaughter of Franz Exner and the grand niece of Max Exner) were on hand to lend their support.

Minnesota women's basketball radio analyst Lynnette Sjoquist, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, served as the event's emcee.

Back in the Classroom

| No TrackBacks

With the first few days of classes now behind them, we figured it'd be fun to ask Minnesota's two freshmen - Joanna Hedstrom and Stabresa McDaniel - as well as the Gophers' two seniors - Sari Noga and Micaella Riche - some questions about the first week of the 2013-14 academic calendar.

Tell us about your first week of classes. Has it been what you expected? Any funny/interesting stories?

Joanna Hedstrom: "My first week of school has been exciting! I have some really cool profs, and I'm excited to see how college compares to high school. A story from my first day is when I was introducing myself in my athlete class, and I was so nervous that I said, 'I play blasketball.' It was embarrassing!"

Stabresa McDaniel: "The first week of school has been pretty good so far. The classes are bigger, and you meet a lot of new people. The classes I take have been what I expected. We learn new fun and interesting topics that keep me engaged in class."

What class are you most looking forward to?

Joanna Hedstrom: "The class that I'm looking forward to the most is my honors public speaking class, because I want to get better at giving speeches. I'm also excited to meet some new people in my management courses through the Carlson school."

Stabresa McDaniel: "The class I'm looking forward to the most will have to be my lifetime health and wellness class. I enjoy the discussions that we have in class, and the new things we learn."

Tell us about your "last, first day of school."

Sari Noga: "I don't think it has quite hit me yet that it was my last first day. It has been about 16 years that I have gone to school, and I think I will be excited to be done, but know I will miss it, too."

Micaella Riche: "I was so ready to go! I know the process. I know the steps, and it's my seventh semester, so bring it on!!"

Is it difficult for you to believe that almost four years has gone by since you first arrived on campus?

Sari Noga: "No one can really prepare you for the statement of 'college goes by fast.' I really can't believe that almost 4 years of college has gone by. It literally feels like it was yesterday I was going to my first college class."

Micaella Riche: "It's unreal. People have always told me it goes by fast, but this is a whole new definition of 'fast'! My experience at Minnesota has been so amazing, and I've grown so much. I'm so blessed and grateful."

What's been one of your favorite classes?

Sari Noga: "One of my favorite classes in college was Death and Dying Across Cultures and Religions. I found it really interesting learning the different funeralization processes there were for each religion."

Micaella Riche: "My favorite classes have all been with professor (Stacy) Ingraham. Her classes are mainly discussion-oriented, and that's where I've found myself learning the most."

What are you majoring in, and what do you hope to do after graduation?

Sari Noga: "My major is mortuary science, and I plan to become an intern funeral director at a funeral home in Minnesota."

Micaella Riche: "I'm majoring in kinesiology, and I'm not sure yet (what I'll do for a career). I would like to play professionally, possibly overseas. Otherwise, I'd love to get certified as a personal trainer, or to get certified as a Yoga and Pilates instructor. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to start my own business to train high-profile clientele."

Do you have any other thoughts about your final year as an undergraduate?

Sari Noga: "I am excited for this school year. Between the practical courses I will be learning in my major, and starting my senior year of basketball, I am thrilled to see what this year has to offer."

Micaella Riche: "It's my last one, the home stretch, the '4th quarter!' Let's get this done. I'm ready for it!"

With this school year underway, the Gophers are hoping for continued success in the classroom. Last year, five members of the Golden Gophers were named to the Winter Academic All-Big Ten Team, including both Noga and Riché. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten honors, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.

During head coach Pam Borton's 11 seasons at Minnesota, her Golden Gopher players have recorded Academic All-Big Ten recognition 74 times, which is the most among all Big Ten Conference women's basketball programs. Additionally, Minnesota has earned a team GPA of at least 3.0 during every year of Borton's coaching tenure.

Whalen Inks Long-Term Deal With Lynx

| No TrackBacks

The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed point guard and former Minnesota Gophers star Lindsay Whalen to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released.


"We are extremely excited to have extended the contract of a franchise cornerstone and one of the best players in the WNBA," said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. "Lindsay has become the top point guard in the league over the past several seasons and we are glad to have her playing in her home state of Minnesota. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to watch an outstanding individual like herself night in and out and we are thrilled that she's decided to continue her career with the Lynx." 

In her 10th WNBA season and fourth in a Lynx uniform, Whalen is having perhaps the best season of her career, averaging career-highs in both points (14.7 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg, 3rd in the league). Already the franchise leader in assists (740), Whalen has posted the four best single-season assist totals in franchise history in her four years with the Lynx. Entering Saturday's game against Seattle, she needs just nine more points to reach the 4,000-point plateau and become just the second player in league history with 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds in a career (Becky Hammon). 

Thanks largely to Whalen's play, Minnesota has been one of the most dominant teams in the WNBA dating back to the start of the 2011 season, holding a league-best 77-21 record during that span, four wins shy of matching the three-year record held by Los Angeles (81, 2000-02). Minnesota (23-7) enters Saturday's game against Seattle with the best record in the WNBA, seeking to become just the third team in WNBA history to reach the Finals in three consecutive seasons. 

Single game tickets for the 2013 Lynx Playoffs presented by Medica Individual and Family Plans went on sale to the general public this morning. Ranging from $16 ($11 for season ticket members and $13 for groups of 10 or more) to $195 ($170 for season ticket members), tickets are available by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or by visiting lynxbasketball.com/lynxtix. Playoff strips, which include tickets to all potential postseason home games, are also available for purchase for as low as $131, a discount of as much as 25% from the single-game price. Single-game prices are subject to change per market demand. 

While at the University of Minnesota, Whalen was a two-time Wade Trophy and Naismith Award finalist. As a senior, she was named to the Kodak All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America Second Team and the AP All-America Second Team. Whalen led Minnesota to its first Final Four Appearance in 2004, one of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Gophers, before being selected fourth overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft.

She holds Minnesota career records for points scored, scoring average, games in double figures, free throws made and free throw percentage.

Gophers Volunteer at Wing Ding

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Community service
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
University of Minnesota women's basketball captains Rachel Banham, Sari Noga and Micaella Riche took time out of their busy summer schedules to volunteer at the 20th Annual Wing Ding: A Benefit for Tubman, which earned them a note of appreciation from the Tubman organization itself.

Each year, local Twin Cities restaurants serve up all-you-can-eat chicken wings and desserts to raise money for Tubman, which is the state's largest provider of domestic violence services. Special for all who attended the benefit, was that Banham, Noga and Riche were just some of the special guests serving them their delicious dishes.

To learn more about Tubman, visit their website at tubman.org, and for more information on its annual Wing Ding, visit wingdingfling.com.

Fun on the Links

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Hoops Scramble XI
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
Photo Gallery

Now in its 11th year, Hoops Scramble continues to be a fun outing for all involved, which was evident on Friday afternoon. Fans, boosters, coaches, players and staff enjoyed a beautiful day at Oak Ridge Golf Course in Oakdale, Minn., golfing, mingling, eating and bidding on great prize packages.

Overall, it was a great day to raise some money for the Golden Gopher women's basketball team and to take time to relax and enjoy some fun times on the course.

Whalen, West Win WNBA All-Star Game

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Lindsay Whalen
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
Former Golden Gopher standout Lindsay Whalen helped the West defeat the East, 102-98, in the WNBA All-Star Game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Saturday. The guard, who was the first player off the bench for the West, scored eight points in 13 minutes of work.

Trailing 43-49 at halftime, the West rallied in the fourth quarter, scoring 28 points while holding the East to just 17 for the victory.

The game was coached by two women for the first time in its 11-year history, with Lin Dunn of Indiana coaching the East and Cheryl Reeve of Minnesota coaching the West.

Reeve had four Minnesota Lynx players on her West squad, as Moore and Seimone Augustus were voted as starters and Reeve chose Lynx center Rebekkah Brunson to replace Britney Griner in the starting lineup.

Whalen was the first sub in for the West, replacing Diana Taurasi. That produced four Lynx players, who also were on the 2011 All-Star team, on the court at the same time.

The four Lynx stars combined for 24 of the West's 29 points in the first quarter.


Former Gopher Whalen Named WNBA All-Star

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Lindsay Whalen
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
Former Golden Gopher standout Lindsay Whalen was voted by the league's head coaches as a reserve for the 2013 Western Conference All-Star Team, the WNBA announced late Tuesday night. Whalen, who starred for the University of Minnesota women's basketball team from 2001-04, will be making her third-career All-Star appearance after having been a part of the event in both 2006 and 2011.

Whalen will be joined on the squad by Minnesota Lynx teammates Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson, as well as head coach Cheryl Reeve and assistants Shelley Patterson and Jim Petersen. It is the second time in franchise history that the Lynx have had four representatives in the All-Star Game (2011) and just the sixth time in WNBA hisotyr that a team has had four or more All-Stars. The Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game will be nationally broadcast on ABC this Saturday, July 27 at 2:30 p.m. CT from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Whalen is having arguably the best season in her 10-year career, averaging a career-best 16.1 points per game while handing out 5.3 assists (fourth in WNBA). She's been especially hot of late, averaging 19.6 points and 5.7 assists per game over her last nine, including leading the Lynx in scoring in five or the past eight games. Whalen tallied 20+ points in four straight games between July 9 and 19, including becoming the first player in WNBA history with multiple 25+ point/10+ assist games against Tulsa on July 13 with a 25-point, 11-assist performance.

While at Minnesota, Whalen was a two-time Wade Trophy and Naismith Award finalist. As a senior, she was named to the Kodak All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America Second Team and the AP All-America Second Team. Whalen led Minnesota to its first Final Four Appearance in 2004, one of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Gophers, before being selected fourth overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft.


She holds Minnesota career records in points, scoring average, games in double figures, free throws made and free throw percentage.