The month of October is a busy one for the University of Minnesota women's basketball team. From opening the month with their first day of practice to ending it with their first exhibition game, the Gophers' preseason is jam-packed with events and activities. How can fans keep up with all things women's basketball? Here is a Gopher fan guide to October, which will outline all the happenings you should be looking out for!
Oct. 1 - First Day of Practice: The Gophers started the month off in impressive fashion. Check out the coverage from the team's first official practice here.
Oct. 6 - Team Photo Day: Pam Borton and her squad smile for the cameras as they take their annual team picture. Look for it in the lobby of Williams Arena on game days and log on to Gophersports.com to get a behind-the-scenes look of the day.
Oct. 11 - Season Ticket Delivery: Fans should make sure to stick close to their doors on Thursday, as members of the women's basketball team will be hand-delivering tickets to select 2012-13 season-ticket holders between 4:00-6:00 p.m. Will you be one of the lucky few that is randomly selected?
Oct. 12 - Media Day: Members of the media gather at The Barn to get insight on the 2012-13 Golden Gophers and attend Coach Borton's press conference. Tune into Gophersports.com as Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes host Media Day Live from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
Oct. 12 - Homecoming Parade: Once you're done watching Media Day Live, head over to campus to wave at Pam Borton and Tubby Smith as they take part in the Homecoming Parade.
Oct. 12 - Gopher All-Star Friday Night: Make the short walk over to Williams Arena at 7:00 p.m. for Gopher All-Star Friday Night! Serving as the official tip off to the 2012-13 season, Gopher All-Star Friday Night will feature both the men's and women's basketball teams for the first time. Get autographs from your favorite players early in the night, before sitting down to some Gopher basketball action. The Gopher women will be introduced on the court and select players will also be paired up with men's players for a two-ball shooting competition. Once the night's activities come to a close, stick around to get an autograph from Coach Borton and Coach Smith.
Oct. 13 - Open Practice: The Minnesota women's basketball team invites fans to its morning practice which will run from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Sports Pavilion. Complimentary coffee, juice and bagels will be served. Parking will be available on the East Bank in Lot C79 and the East River Road parking garage. In St. Paul, parking is available at the fairgrounds with a complimentary shuttle to campus. | Printable Flyer
Oct. 25 - Big Ten Media Day: Head coach Pam Borton and select players will make the trip to Chicago for the annual Big Ten Conference Media Day, where they will meet with local, regional and national media members. Check out highlights from last year's B1G Media Day here.
Oct. 29 - Tip-Off Dinner: Join Coach Borton, her staff and fellow Gopher fans at Crave at the Galleria for a four-course meal and great company prior to the start of the season. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner scheduled to be served at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $40 per person and registration is due by Oct. 22. | Printable Flyer
Oct. 31 - Exhibition vs. Concordia, St. Paul: The 2012-13 Golden Gophers will be in action for the first time when they take on the Golden Bears in a 7:00 p.m. matchup at Williams Arena. Minnesota finished last season with a 19-17 overall record and a 6-10 Big Ten Conference record, while Concordia, St. Paul concluded the year with an 11-17 overall mark and a 8-14 Northern Sun Conference clip. | Complete 2012-13 Schedule.
After weeks of individual practices and months of anticipation, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team officially opened the 2012-13 season with its first team practice of the year at Williams Arena Monday afternoon.
"It felt great to finally get everyone out on the court together," head coach Pam Borton said. "The team's work ethic was impressive and the players were supportive and encouraging toward one another. We have a very young team this sesason, but I thought that our freshmen did extremely well for their first practice."
Borton, who is now in her 11th season as the Golden Gophers' head coach, had her squad on the floor beginning at 12 p.m., with her and her coaching staff putting the team through an intense workout of drills and technical work.
"There were a lot of nerves and adrenaline going, but it was a great first day of practice," freshman Shayne Mullaney said. "I have been looking forward to this day for a while, so it was fun for it to actually be here."
Minnesota is only 30 days away from its first exhibition contest vs. Concordia, St. Paul, which is scheduled for Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m., and only 40 days out from its season and home opener vs. Washington State on Nov. 10 at 12:00 p.m., which is part of the Best Buy Classic.
Fans will have an opportunity to get their first glimpse at the 2012-13 Gophers on Friday, Oct. 12, when they take part in Gopher All-Star Friday Night in conjuntion with the Minnesota men's basketball team. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. for the event, which will be held at Williams Arena.
There is still time to get your season tickets for the year by calling the University of Minnesota Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 or 1.800.UGOPHER.
Between summer classes and working out with her Golden Gopher teammates, freshman Jackie Johnson did not have a lot of free time prior to starting her rookie season on Pam Borton's women's basketball team. But, that didn't stop the 6-foot-1 forward from using that small amount of extra time to play basketball and travel the world with Athletes in Action. GopherSports.com recently sat down with Johnson to learn more about her experience overseas.
Jackie met up with fellow Gopher Alex Ionescu in Prague.
We heard you had a busy summer playing basketball. Where did you go? "I was able to play basketball in Prague through Athletes in Action."
For those of us that do not know, what is Athletes in Action? "Athletes in Action is a Christian organization that builds spiritual movements through the platform of sport. You have the opportunity to go to a different country, share the Gospel and use your sport to show who God is. There are five principles they teach you on how to play for God and not for yourself or other people."
Who played on the team with you? "I went with women from all over the United States. Most of them had already graduated and played basketball in college. I was the youngest person on our trip. Most of the players were anywhere from 21-25, and then there was me who was 18 at the time. There were players from Northern Kentucky, Aiken in South Carolina and Green Bay, so there we players from bigger schools and smaller schools."
Was it fun getting to know your teammates? "Yes, but I connected with some of the players more than others. One of the women, Karen, is on staff at Colorado State. She was the oldest player on the trip, but I bonded with her a ton because we had a lot of the same interests."
What was your typical day like while you were there? "We played five different teams in seven days. In the morning our coach would have a joint practice so the other team could see how an American practice is run. We would then play that same team later in the afternoon. Sometimes we would only practice or only play a game. Afterward, we would go hang out with the team and get to know them.
"Overall, the trip was very demanding. We walked everywhere. We stayed in a hostel, so we would walk from our hostel to get on the train, then get off the train and walk to the gym. You had to carry your backpack with everything possible in it. It felt like I was climbing a mountain half the time. It was definitely an experience, but I liked it."
Why was your team selected to go to Prague? "The main reason we went to Prague was because the country is about 85 percent or 90 percent Atheist, or known as Atheist. Most of the people know that there maybe is some God out there, they just choose not to believe that or they don't want to know about it. They say it's partially from when there was Communism in the Czech when the country was part of Czechoslovakia. They say that suppressed the country and left it as it is now, but it is getting better. They have an actual Athletes in Action team in Czech, and that is who set everything up for us."
How did you get involved with Athletes in Action? A Pastor at my Church knew a lot about it, so he had mentioned it to both Shayne (Mullaney) and me. Shayne's older sister, Kelly Jo, went to the Czech Republic last year, so we also knew a lot about it from her. One of the coaches from Hopkins High School goes to my Church and said that he would coach our team, so he and my pastor talked to me about it and I was totally up for it."
What was your favorite part of the trip? "Obviously, playing basketball and getting to share God's word was one of the best parts, but being able to do it in a foreign country was amazing. I also loved seeing and touring Prague because it is so beautiful. I have never seen anything like that before. There is so much old architecture. The buildings are like 600 years old and there are giant Churches. I also love that they still have cobblestone roads. Minneapolis is nice, but it's not the same. We don't have a castle (laughing)."
Is it something you would like to do again? "I would love to do it again. Probably not going back to Prague, just because that's somewhere I've already been. I would love to do different ones just because I love traveling, I love Jesus and I love basketball."
The life of a Division I student-athlete is anything but easy. Between workouts, class, practice, media obligations, video and photo shoots, training table and studying, members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team carry a full load. But, it is not all work and no play for the Golden Gophers, as they also find time to have fun on and off of the court with each other.
Sophomore Rachel Banham takes Gopher fans along for a busy day in her life, where she wakes up early for class, does an interview, participates in the 2012-13 season intro video shoot, works out, eats and studies.
It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, right? Enjoy!
Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes of the Gophers' video and photo shoots? Gophersports.com is here to give you an all-access pass as the Minnesota women's basketball team gears up for the 2012-13 season.
Watch the video above and check out the photo gallery to get an inside look at many of the elements that will be featured on the new scoreboard and ribbon boards at Williams Arena, as well as some of the photos that will be used for this year's poster.
Also included is footage from the players "Doing the Gopher", a segement that is aired during the third-quarter break at every home football game. Did you see it played during Saturday night's win vs. Syracuse?
It was a fun-filled day of smiling, posing, dancing and humming when the Minnesota women's basketball team took over Williams Arena for their video shoot Wednesday afternoon. The Gophers shot clips for their intro video that will be played prior to each game and also shot videos that will play on the new LED scoreboard in The Barn on game days.
Here is a sneak peek of some of the behind-the-scenes action from the day, with more to come following head coach Pam Borton's video shoot set to take place on Monday afternoon. Can you guess what song Leah Cotton and Sari Noga are humming?
I can't wait to view the finished products on that gorgeous scoreboard when the Gophers open the season!
Don't forget that you can buy season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2012-13 season on mygophersports.com so you can see the videos as well.
Single-game tickets for the 2012-13 University of Minnesota women's basketball season are set to go on sale Sept. 19 beginning at 9:00 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Golden Gopher Ticket Office at 612-624-8080 or online at mygophersports.com.
Ticket prices for each game will be $15 for chair back seats and $8 for bleacher seats.
The Gophers are scheduled to play 18 games at Williams Arena this season, including contests against Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Denver, Ohio State, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue and Penn State. Minnesota will also host a pair of tournaments in the Best Buy Class and the Subway Classic in early November.
Fans will also be able to get a glimpse of Williams Arena's new center-hung LED scoreboard and LED fascia boards, and will be able to take in the sounds of The Barn's new sound system when the season gets underway.
Golden Gopher fans won't believe their eyes when they walk into Williams Arena this fall for the women's basketball team's exhibition game vs. Concordia, St. Paul on Oct. 31. After announcing plans in May to install a new center-hung LED scoreboard, LED fascia boards and a new sound system in Williams Arena, construction of the scoreboard and sound system are now complete.
The new scoreboard and sound system will enhance the gameday fan experience for the Minnesota faithful with more videos, sound bytes and fan prompts.
The scoreboard and fascia boards were built and installed by Daktronics, Inc., while Minnesota-based Parsons Electric supplied the new sound system.
The new scoreboard screen is 11'7" tall and 13'8" wide and features an LED ring above and below the main video board.
The university also added a state-of-the-art control room in TCF Bank Stadium. The control room, designed and installed by Minnesota based Alpha Video, will run the videoboards in Mariucci Arena, TCF Bank Stadium and Williams Arena.
Rachel Banham made herself known in a big way as a rookie last season for the Minnesota women's basketball team. The guard broke the Gophers' freshman scoring record with 580 points and scored the third-most points of any freshman in the country. Minnesota fans know that Banham was a Full Court Freshman All-American and the 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year a year ago, but the sophomore shares 25 things that fans may not know about her.
I LOVE to sing!
I want to be a police officer when I'm older, just like my parents.
I'm dating Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and Chris Brown!
I'm deathly afraid of planes.
I'm afraid of sharks.
I'm afraid of the ocean.
I'm afraid of needles!!
I love watching Law and Order and C.S.I.
Growing up, I played football with my brothers all of the time and really wanted to join a team.
I have a German Sheppard named Bailey! Shes the cutest puppy on this earth!
I've met Adrian Peterson. We're pretty much best friends! ;)
I want to play for the Lynx one day.
I love lying in the sun and getting tan.
I never wear make-up unless its a very special occasion.
I love to dance!
When I'm older, instead of just being a cop, I want to be a hip hop dancer on the side!
I don't like to sit still very much!
My older brother plays football for the U.
I hate losing.
I'm not a morning person. At all.
I hate running long distances.
I'm a jokester.
I like making things awkward!
I like making weird faces. I'm the master at them.
The first day of school always had a certain feel about it when I was growing up, so it seems weird that even today, seven years after my last first day of college, that it still has that feeling.
Maybe it's a nervous feeling as to what is to come for the year, maybe it's the excitement of knowing the goals you want to reach, but whatever the feeling is or was, I always know to embrace it.
Members of the Minnesota women's basketball team enter the 2012-13 academic year with the same feelings I've always felt, I am sure. Coming off a WBI Championship a year ago, the squad knows that expecations are high for this season, not only from its coaching staff and supporters, but for the Gophers themselves.
Though Minnesota is a young squad that boasts just two seniors on its 2012-13 roster, the Golden Gophers return nearly 68% of their point production. A large portion of that production came from 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Rachel Banham. The point guard led Minnesota with 580 points, which was the third-highest total among the nation's freshmen, and the most points scored of any freshman in the six power conferences.
The Maroon and Gold also returns its top-four rebounders from 2011-12. Katie Loberg is Minnesota's top returning rebounder, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game last season, followed by Banham, Kionna Kellogg and Micaëlla Riché.
Add in the return of Kayla Hirt, who was forced to redshirt her freshman year due to a knee injury, and the addition of a trio of freshmen in Mikayla Bailey, Jackie Johnson and Shayne Mullaney and the Gophers have the supplies needed to have a successful year.
On top of making the trek to their first class this morning, Minnesota will also take part in its first day of skill instruction, so not only is it back to school for the Gophers, but it is also time to go back to work on the hardwood.
With Day One holding many happy, excited and even nervous feelings, it seems that no matter who, where or how long ago you last experienced the spirit of the first day of school, it always brings about a fresh start and the beginning of something really great.