|#2 Minnesota (16-17) vs. #3 Bradley (18-15)|
|2012 Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI)|
|Date||Sunday, March 18, 2012|
|Time||2:00 p.m. CT|
|Location||Williams Arena (14,625)|
|Last Meeting||L, 49-56 (Dec. 3, 2009)|
|Radio||Gophersports.com (Listen Online)|
|(Corbu Stathes, Lynnette Sjoquist)|
|Live Stats||Click Here|
|Game Notes||Minnesota | Bradley|
|Season Statistics||Minnesota | Bradley|
|Social Media||Facebook | @GophersWBB|
• The Gophers enter the WBI quarterfinals with a 16-17 record on the season and a No. 2 seed in the East Bracket.
• The squad really clicked during the Big Ten Tournament, as they defeated Wisconsin, 81-49, in the opening round, before taking top-ranked No. 9/12 Penn State down to the wire in a 74-78 loss.
• Minnesota's defense is holding teams to a .374 field goal percentage this season, while shooting .407 as a team.
• The Maroon and Gold is outscoring its opponents by an average of 3.8 points per game.
• Rachel Banham is the Gophers' leading scorer with a per game average of 16.2 points.
• Kiara Buford is also averaging double-digit scoring in her senior campaign at 13.6 points per game.
• Buford also leads the team in assists and steals.
• Katie Loberg is averaging a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game, while Banham is close behind with an average of 5.5 points per game.
• The Braves make the trip to Minneapolis with an 18-15 overall record out of the Missouri Valley Conference, where they finished eighth with a 7-11 league mark. The squad is the No. 3 seed in the East Bracket.
• Bradley is outscoring its opponents by an average of 2.8 points per game this season and is averaging 68.6 points per game.
• Leah Cassing paces the team with a scoring average of 13.6 points per game. The senior is shooting an impressive .507 (187-369) from the field.
•Cassing is also the Braves' leading rebounder with an average of 7.8 boards per game.
• Bradley has won four of its last five contests, including a 74-71 victory vs. Tennessee Tech in its WBI First Round contest Wednesday. The Braves trailed by as many as 20 points in the game before coming back to win by three.
• The Braves' bench scored 40 of the team's 50 points in the second half to improve their record to 18-15 overall.
• The Gophers are 2-2 all-time when taking on Bradley, with the teams' last meeting coming on Dec. 3, 1999 on the road, a 56-49 loss.
• Minnesota's last win vs. Bradley came at home on Nov. 28 during the Gopher Classic. The Gophers came out on top, 84-59.
Up Next for the Gophers
• Should the Gophers defeat Bradley Friday night, they will take on the winner of No. 8 Manhattan vs. No. 4 Holy Cross.
• Manhattan defeated top-seeded Robert Morris, 77-54, Wednesday night to advance to the quarterfinals, while Holy Cross took down No. 5 seed New Hampshire, 63-59, on Thursday night.
• Being the top seed left in the East Region, the Gophers would have the first choice of hosting the contest, should they win.
Minnesota in the WBI
• Minnesota will be making its first appearance in the WBI since the events inception in 2010.
• The Gophers are the first Big Ten team to play in the WBI postseason tournament. • Friday's contest was the Maroon and Gold's first postseason appearance since earning an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
• Minnesota opened the 2011-12 season at the WBI Tip Off Classic, where it posted a 1-2 record.
• Kiara Buford earned one of six spots on the WBI Tip Off Classic All-Tournament team.
• The senior averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Gophers, while also tallying 10 assists, four steals and three blocks.
• Buford opened the weekend with 14 points vs. Arkansas, and followed with team-highs of 13 points vs. 14/13 Florida State and 16 points vs. USF.
• The WBI is a 16-team, single elimination tournament divided into two regions, with eight seeded teams in each. It is transparent and a true tournament format just like the NCAA.
• Appalacian State won the inaugural WBI title in 2010 with a 79-71 win vs. Memphis, while UAB picked up the crown last season by defeating Cal State Bakersfield, 68-60.
Last Time Out
• Minnesota made a great first impression in their Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) debut Friday night, upending visiting Charleston Southern, 80-51, Friday night in the first round of the event in front of the home crowd at Williams Arena.
• Four players scored in double-digits and 10 players scored at least one point for the Gophers in the route.
• Rachel Banham led the way with 16 points, while Micaëlla Riché and Kiara Buford each added 12 points and Katie Loberg chipped in with 10 points.
• Kionna Kellogg, Leah Cotton and Sari Noga scored eight, seven and six points, respectively.
• Brianna Mastey tallied a career-high seven assists to go along with six rebounds and four points.
• The Gophers led by as many as 33 points in the contest and finished with a .525 shooting percentage.
Impressive First Half vs. Buccaneers
• The Gophers' 50 first-half points and .571 first-half field goal percentage against Charleston Southern Friday night were season-highs. • Charleston Southern's 22 points in the first half were the least amount of points allowed by the Gopher defense since Jan. 2, when it held Indiana to 17 points.
Black History Month: Leslie Hill
In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great. Today we honor Leslie Hill.
Listen to This Week's Gopher Sports Podcast
Rachel Banham is this week's guest on the Gopher Sports Podcast ahead of two key home games.
Game Preview: Gophers vs. Nebraska
Minnesota has won six of its last seven games, and will look to continue the trend Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.