Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-8, 8-5 Big Ten)
Penn State Lady Lions (13-11, 4-8 Big Ten)
LOCATION Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) - University Park, Pa.
DATE / TIME: Thurs., Feb. 14 / 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET)
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network
Kellie Goodman (play-by-play), Theresa Grentz (analyst)
RADIO / WEBCAST: KBEM 85.5 FM
Gopher Radio Network / gophersports.com
Corbu Stathes (play-by-play), Lynnette Sjoquist (analyst)
Golden Gopher Watch List Feb. 14, 2008
Gophers Travel to Penn State - Minnesota takes to the road for a pair of games this week as the Golden Gopher head into the home stretch of the Big Ten season. The Gophers, 17-8 overall and 8-5 in Conference play, travel to Penn State on Thursday, Feb. 14, for a 7 p.m. (CT) clash with the Lady Lions. Minnesota’s second road game of the week is Sunday at Big Ten-leading Iowa.
BTN Broadcast on Thursday - The Minnesota/Penn State game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. Kellie Goodman and former Illinois coach Theresa Grentz will call the action. The Golden Gophers are 6-1 in games televised by the Big Ten Network this season.
Crunch Time - The Big Ten race has been an interesting battle this season with parity reigning supreme. With five games remaining for the top four teams, it’s crunch time.
Four Gophers Earn Academic District Acclaim - Four of the Golden Gophers’ five starters Leslie Knight, Emily Fox, Katie Ohm and Brittany McCoy were named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Teams.
Minnesota Back on the Road This Week
Minnesota takes to the road for a pair of games this week as the Golden Gopher head into the home stretch of the Big Ten season. The Gophers, 17-8 overall and 8-5 in Conference play, travel to Penn State on Thursday, Feb. 14, for a 7 p.m. (CT) clash with the Lady Lions. Minnesota’s second road game of the week is Sunday at Big Ten-leading Iowa. Penn State owns a 13-11 overall record, 4-8 in league action.
Big Ten Network Broadcast
The Minnesota/Penn State game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. Kellie Goodman and former Illinois coach Theresa Grentz will call the action.
Lights, Camera, Action
The Golden Gophers are 6-1 in games televised by the Big Ten Network this season, all the wins but the Wisconsin game played at home in Williams Arena. Minnesota defeated Iowa State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State with the TV cameras rolling. The only loss was at Ohio State.
Gophers Have a Shot at Something Special
Minnesota hopes to take advantage of an opportunity that has only come around twice before. The Golden Gophers, set up by a 67-50 victory over Penn State in Williams Arena on Jan. 13, have just the third chance in school history to sweep the Lady Lions in a regular-season series. The Gophers’ first shot at a sweep was 13 years ago during the 1994-95 season. Minnesota won the first game at home (71-56), but split with Penn State with the Lady Lions winning the second contest (87-63). Minnesota had the same chance last season, winning early (Jan. 21) 75-62 in Minneapolis, but falling 66-57 in the rematch at Penn State. The sweep would be made even more special because the Gophers have never won at Penn State (0-12).
The Stretch Run
The Big Ten race has been an interesting battle this season with parity reigning supreme. With five games remaining for the top four teams (Indiana in fifth with six), it’s crunch time.
Iowa, who at 10-3 owns a one-game lead over Purdue and Ohio State, will have a definite test of their merit with the Hawkeyes’ next three games against the three teams directly below them in the standings (at Purdue, Minnesota and at Ohio State. Iowa finishes up the season hosting Northwestern and traveling to Wisconsin.
Purdue (9-4) probably has the toughest five stretch to end the season. The Boilermakers host Iowa on Thursday, then play three of their last four on the road (Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois). Purdue final home game is versus Michigan State.
Ohio State (9-4) has a bye this Thursday then plays host to Purdue and Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ road games are at Indiana and Penn State before ending the season at home against Northwestern.
Minnesota (8-5) has three of its last five on road with games this week at Penn State and Iowa then later the season finale at Michigan. The Gophers host Wisconsin and Indiana in their remaining home games.
Indiana (7-5) has already had both of their schedule byes for the season, thus have six games remaining. The Hoosiers host Michigan State and Michigan this week, then finish out their last two weeks with games versus Wisconsin, Ohio Sate, Minnesota and Penn State.
Borton Nears 200-Win Milestone
Golden Gopher head coach Pam Borton is two wins from her 200th victory of her coaching career. Borton recorded her 100th win on Dec. 10, 2005, in a 83-57 victory over Washington State.
Another Countdown Begins, Fox Nears 1,000 Points
Junior Emily Fox is 93 points from becoming the 18th player in Minnesota history to score 1,000 career points. Fox currently has 907 points in 85 career games. Chasing the milestone in her junior season is even more impressively considering she scored just 65 points as a freshman.
Gopher Guard Tandem Posts Century Repeat
A year ago, Emily Fox and Brittany McCoy became just the second duo in school history to each record over 100 assists in a season (the other was Janel McCarville and April Calhoun in 2004-05). Fox and McCoy now own a repeat performance of this feat as McCoy (106) joined Fox (108) in triple digit assist numbers. McCoy is the first player in Gopher history to collect 100 or more assists in the first two years of a career.
Coaches Love This One
Emily Fox and Brittany McCoy not only dish out assists but have been taking care of the ball as well. The Gopher backcourt duo ranks second and third in Big Ten play (the order is reversed in the overall stats) with McCoy dishing out 4.69 assists a game to 4.62 for Fox. When coupled with turnovers for an assist to turnover ratio, Fox ranks second in the Big Ten (1.62), while McCoy is a close third (1.56).
More Evidence to Support the Case
Brittany McCoy collected 15 assists in the two Gopher wins last week, including a career-high nine versus Northwestern, while committing just two turnovers. That’s an impressive assist to turnover ratio of 7.50.
The Big Ten’s Best From Long Range
Sophomore Katie Ohm is the Big Ten’s leading long-range shooter converting on 49.1 percent (27-55) of her field goal attempts from three-point range. Since moving into the starting lineup six games ago, Ohm has shot even better. She has made 15 of 30 three-point field goal attempts for an impressive 50.0 percent from behind the arc while in the starting five.
Knight Scores 18 But Slips to Fourth in Scoring
Leslie Knight has raised her level of play to all-conference calibre this season. Knight scored 18 points in her last outing and retained her average of 17.5 points per Big Ten game, but slipped from second to fourth among scoring leaders. Knight trails Wisconsin’s Jolene Anderson’s 20.9, Illinois’ Jenna Smith’s 18.0 and Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender’s 17.8 points per game averages. Emily Fox ranks sixth at 15.9 points an outing.
Knight Continues All-Conference Caliber Play
Senior Leslie Knight has become the Gophers’ go-to player on the post. Currently ranked fourth in the Big Ten scoring 17.5 points and and leads in field goal percentage at 59.6 percent per Conference game, Knight has strung together an impressive list of performances during the Big Ten season.
Dec. 28 at Michigan State 7-11 FG (.636) 16 points
Dec. 30 vs. Purdue 6-12 FG (.583) 20 points
Jan. 3 vs. Iowa 8-12 (.667) 18 points
Jan. 7 at Wisconsin 7-10 (.700) 20 points
Jan. 10 at Illinois 5-6 (.833)` 12 points
Jan. 13 Penn State 5-9 (.556) 12 points
Jan. 17 at Indiana 8-18 ((.444) 17 points
Jan. 24 Ohio State 12-19 (.632) 33 points
Jan. 27 Michigan State 2-9 (.222) 13 points
Jan. 31 at Purdue 10-15 (.667) 22 points
Feb. 3 at Ohio State 6-10 (.600) 16 points
Feb. 7 Illinois 4-8 (.500) 11 points
Feb. 10 Northwestern 9-12 (.750) 18 points
Totals 90-151 (.596) 17.5 ppg.
The “X” Factor Theory is Holding Firm
Sophomore Brittany McCoy is an important element to the Gophers’ success that is often overlooked considering the impressive seasons her teammates Emily Fox and Leslie Knight are enjoying. Fifteen (15) of the Gophers’ victories, including all eight Big Ten wins, have the common thread of McCoy making an impact offensively either with her scoring or passing. When McCoy either scores in double figures (which has happened five times) or has dished out five or more assists (which she has done 11 times), the Gophers are 15-1. Ironically the only loss was the double-overtime contest at Indiana where McCoy finished with 14 points and six assists, but had nine points and four assists at the end of regulation.
RPIs Bruised as Big Ten Team Battle Each Other
The Big Ten Conference is the ranked third in RPI (Rating Percentage Index) according to CollegeRPI.com. As the rugged BIg Ten season plays out it’s difficult to make much of a move up the ranks of RPI. The Gophers are No. 28, the best RPI in the Big Ten, after their win over Northwestern. Ohio State is now at No. 29. Iowa at No. 37 is the only other Big Ten team ranked in the top 40 in RPI. The top ranked conferences in RPI are the Big 12 and the Big East.
Fox Climbing Career Lists in Assists and Steals
Emily Fox continues to climb the Minnesota career charts for assists and steals. Fox is ranked eighth with 266 career assists and 10th with 146 career steals.
Ellis-Milan Among Career Leaders in O-Boards
Gopher sophomore Ashley Ellis-Milan is ranked eighth among the top 10 offensive rebounders in Minnesota history. Ellis-Milan has 171 offensive boards. Kadidja Andersson (7th - 206, 2000-04) is next on the list. Korinne Campbell is close to joining Ellis-Milan on the list as well. Campbell has 165 career offensive rebounds. Rebounds were categorized as offensive or defensive in the 1987-88 season so several of the top rebounders in Minnesota history are not included on this list. Janel McCarville (2001-05) grabbed the most offensive rebounds in school history - 364.
Campbell Finds Her Game Versus Northwestern
Sophomore Korinne Campbell exploded for 13 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench versus Northwestern. In her first five games off the bench she averaged just 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds a game.
Scouting The Lady Lions
Penn State owns a record of 13-11 overall and 4-8 in Big Ten play. The Lady Lions have lost six of seven games, including the last five, since Minnesota handed Penn State a 67-50 setback on Jan. 13. The Lady Lions, coached by first-year mentor Coquese Washington, features a balanced squad with four players averaging in double figures. Sophomore Tyra Grant tops the list averaging 14.5 points a game. Junior Brianne O’Rourke averages 12.0 points and a Big Ten-leading 4.7 assists an outing.
The Minnesota / Penn State Series
Penn State leads the series with Minnesota by a 20-6 margin. The Gophers have won five straight over the Lady Lions in Williams Arena, but are 0-12 on Penn State’s home court.