|#2 Minnesota (16-17) vs. #3 Bradley (18-15)
||2012 Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI)
||Sunday, March 18, 2012
||2:00 p.m. CT
||Williams Arena (14,625)
||L, 49-56 (Dec. 3, 2009)
||Gophersports.com (Listen Online)
||(Corbu Stathes, Lynnette Sjoquist)
||Minnesota | Bradley
||Minnesota | Bradley
||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.