Nov. 6, 2011
Minnesota head coach Pam Borton
"I think we got a lot better from Wednesday. We got a lot better as a team as the game went on. I think the things that we had talked about before the game started, like minimizing our turnovers, rebounding the basketball a little bit better, those definitely got a lot better. I was very pleased with how hard we worked and our intensity level until the buzzer went off. Our players looked like they were having a blast out there."
On Kiara Buford and Rachel Banham
"Everybody else is just feeding off of them. This is a guard's game, and I think Rachel and Kiara did a great job and Leah did a great job off the bench. We get better when Leah comes into the game. I like the combination of Kiara, Rachel and Leah a lot. We're more athletic, we're quicker and we're a better defensive team. They played a great game and I think the best is yet to come."
On Loberg making improvements from last year
"She's still working. She's still a young player at this level. I think last year she had an average year, at best, and I think her just getting used to playing more minutes and playing more extended minutes will be important. I thought she looked like she was in better shape and was able to do that. Our post players have a long way to go, and they'll catch up. Bottom line is that everything we do inside, we have to get tougher."
On pre-season jitters and her expectations of the exhibition games
"In the first game, I think probably the veterans can agree with me on this, I just didn't know what to expect [on Wednesday]. I think we still have a lot of newbies that are playing a lot of minutes for us. With Rachel as our point guard, obviously I believe in her and I trust her a lot with the ball, but I think everybody has different roles this year. Going into Wednesday we wanted to see what our team looked like. I don't think any of us had any idea. We've been working extremely hard in practice and it's been exciting watching our team grow. I think they feel more confident with each other and the more they play with each other. The best is yet to come when they get more comfortable with each other."
On the competition at the WBI Tip Off to open the season
"It'll be like night and day. Obviously, we're playing Division I opponents, we're playing a SEC, Big East and ACC team back-to-back-to-back. I like our effort, I like our work ethic, I like our intensity and where our defense is right now. Seeing us cut our turnovers down a little bit today makes it a little more easy going into this weekend, but it's going to be night and day."
Minnesota Player Leah Cotton
On how she, Banham and Buford are clicking
"I think our chemistry is getting much better, from when we started practice in the summer to where it is now, I feel like it's like Coach mentioned - it's more athletic and we like to get up and down the floor a lot more. I feel like I can take more chances with them up there. I feel like it's faster overall."
On her experience level as a junior
"I definitely feel like I have more experience. From my first two years, I've seen everything that I think we'll see this year. It's definitely exciting, to a certain extent, because I feel like I can be a better leader since I know what's expected, and I know what to do or how to react to those things."
Freshman guard Rachel Banham
On Minnesota's ball control going into the season
"It makes me more confident, and I think we all feel more confident when we're getting more assists compared to turnovers. Going into the Big Ten there are going to be very good defenders, so we have to keep up what we're doing. We need to be smart with the ball and be tough."
On how she felt today compared to the St. Cloud State game
"I felt a lot better. I felt really comfortable. I wasn't as nervous, and I came in confident. It was really fun. I just thought the whole game was better. It was way more improved than it was on Wednesday."
Bemidji State Coach Mike Curfman
"In the first half we came out hard and played aggressive and we didn't back down. I thought that was encouraging in the big picture. Over the course of the game (Minnesota's) size and strength wore us down a little bit. Hopefully we can learn from the things we did today and get better."
On what the experience means to the program
"It is neat, not only to play a Big Ten team, but to get to play in (Williams Arena) with all of its history. The state tournament is played here and that is every girl's dream to play in the state tournament. For those that haven't played on this floor before it is a pretty neat experience."
On what the team can learn from the game
"All the little things, it was a little bit tougher tonight because of (Minnesota's) size, length and athleticism. For us, it was let's see what works against (Minnesota), and that can help us later down the road."
WNBA at the Break
Three pro Gophers will get some rest, and Lindsay Whalen will go for another gold medal in Rio.
Introducing: Taiye Bello
The freshman from Michigan has enjoyed her summer in another of the Great Lakes states.
Introducing: Gadiva Hubbard
The Viginia native is feeling at home in the Twin Cities during her first summer on campus.