Dec. 8, 2013
Pam Borton’s Opening Statement:
One of the few positives about this game was the comeback we made in the second half and the win. We faced a lot of adversity, even before the tip went off and learning we would not have Rachel playing this game. We did not have a lot of time to practice with people playing in different positions and we saw what the team looks like without Rachel. Rachel facilitates our plays offensively and is a strong leader, but I do give credit to the team for finding a way to win.
On the team’s ability to play strong defense this game...
We made adjustments at halftime, and the defense was outstanding in the second half. We kept
North Dakota out of the lane and switched up our defense on ball screens. North Dakota was making all of their shots in the first half, but we made an adjustment to how we read ball screens.
On Rachel’s killer instincts showing in Zahui...
I saw from Mullaney and Zahui, and especially Zahui, that look of ‘I’m going to do everything in my power for us not to lose this basketball game, whether it be to put the team on my back or score each time we go down the floor, or even get every rebound.’ I obviously had a lot of confidence in Mullaney to make that last shot of the game and make the play, which shows how far she has developed as a player and as a leader for us.
On their low shots made percentage of 32%...
PB: “I cannot remember having this low of a percentage – I remember playing teams with this percentage, but not our own. When Rachel is on the court, she makes those shots and helps everyone else look good with their shooting as well. She facilitates, makes plays easy, and is a great point guard. We shot 32% in the game, but we found a way to win.”
On Minnesota’s low amount of turnovers...
I just thought our execution was better in the second half. Again, I thought we reversed the ball more and played better as a team. In the first half we took more ill-advised shots, with Zahui taking outside shots on the perimeter, and forcing the ball to the inside before we began reversing the ball more. Overall, our offensive execution was a lot better in the second half.
On Jackie Johnson’s performance in the final four minutes...
Jackie saved the game defensively. She came out solid as a rock and was exactly what we were looking for. As coaches we look for a combination that is working on the floor, and with Sari Noga playing in foul trouble and two freshman guards on the floor, it is tough for us defensively. We played a little out of sorts and Jackie can defend, rebound, and that is all we needed from her. If she had made a few more shots it would have given us a little more breathing room, but Jackie was crucial for the game today.
On Banham’s knee injury keeping her from the game today...
She had an MRI done, and her ligaments are fine as well as her meniscus. She has a bone bruise, and we thought with a 12 day break, it would be smarter for the long term of the season for her to not play today. There is bigger games down the road as well as a long season, and we wanted to be smart with Rachel to give her some time for rehabilitation, which will allow her to be back on the court this week.
On what she was thinking about in the last 20 seconds of the game...
I just knew that we had to make a play. Whether it was me or a teammate. We just had to make a play in the last second.
On her feeling after she made the game-winning basket...
I don’t even know, the whole game rough for us. In the first half, (I was thinking) are we really playing this bad? I don’t know how to describe it.
On not having Rachel Banham on the court...
It was a lot different. She makes it a lot easier on me. I knew I had to step up this game. We always practice with (Banham.) It was a big adjustment that the whole team had to make. We knew we had to step up our game, and I think we did in the second half.
On her scoring mindset in the second half...
Coach told me to step up as a scorer. I did not really do it in the beginning (of the game,) so I went out and tried to do it in the second half.
On being able to post up in the second half...
I fought for (positioning.) We have been working on it in practice, so I had that in mind. I had to do it.
On how she felt scoring 25 points in the game...
It is good. It is something I have to come and do in every game. I am here to score and help the team win games. I have to continue to (score.)
Introducing: Gadiva Hubbard
The Viginia native is feeling at home in the Twin Cities during her first summer on campus.
WNBA Update - July 13
Rachel Banham's season is unfortunately done, but the other three Gophers in the league have been making headlines.
Follow the Gophers to the Bahamas
Fan packages are available for travel to the Junkanoo Jam during Thanksgiving week.