Dec. 29, 2011
Following a convincing victory over NJIT in its non-conference finale last week, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team opens Big Ten Conference action at No. 20/21 Purdue Friday at Mackey Arena. Tip-off for the league-event is set for 6:00 p.m. CT.
Friday, Dec. 30
Minnesota at No. 20/21 Purdue - 6:00 p.m. CT
KBEM Jazz 88.5 FM
Play-by-Play - Corbu Stathes
Analyst - Lynnette Sjoquist
Minnesota - 8-6 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten
Purdue - 10-3 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten
Mackey Arena (14,240)
Minnesota trails Purdue, 17-37
The Gophers open Big Ten Conference play Friday at 20/21 Purdue with an 8-6 record on the year, which includes a 71-47 victory vs. NJIT in its non-conference finale Dec. 23 at Williams Arena.
Minnesota has won four of its last five contests, which included two wins to claim the Best Buy Classic title at the Barn in mid-December.
During the five-game stretch, the Maroon and Gold outscored its opponents, 369-264, an average of +21.0 points per game.
After scoring a career-best 20 points vs. NJIT, freshman Rachel Banham edged senior Kiara Buford for the team-lead in scoring with an average of 13.8 points per game.
Buford is a close second in points per game with 13.7, while Katie Loberg is averaging 10.2 points per contest.
Loberg leads the Gophers in rebounding with an average of 7.5 boards per game, while the junior also paces the squad in blocks with 1.1 per contest.
The Boilermakers, who are ranked in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls, hold a 10-3 record on the year, with their only losses coming against 7/6 Duke, Notre Dame and Central Michigan.
Purdue picked up a home win vs. 4/4 Texas A&M on Dec. 4, before dropping two-straight contests.
Since then, the squad has won three-consecutive games, which includes a 73-36 victory vs. IPFW in its final non-conference contest on Dec. 22.
Purdue is outscoring its opponents this season by an average of 9.4 points per game.
The Boilermakers currently lead the Big Ten with an average of 5.7 blocked shots per game, which includes a team-high 19 blocks by both Chelsea Jones and Sam Ostarello.
Series History The Gophers trail the Boilermakers 17-37 in the all-time series.
Minnesota holds a 4-21 record against Purdue when playing at Mackey Arena.
Last season, the Maroon and Gold fell to the Boilermakers, 50-60, at Williams Arena despite getting a career-high 17 points from Brianna Mastey.
Mastey was 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the contest.
The last time the Gophers defeated Purdue was a 74-40 victory at Williams Arena on Jan. 14, 2010.
The last time Minnesota won at Mackey Arena was Jan. 13, 2005, when the squad posted a 58-38 victory vs. the then-No. 20/20 Boilermakers.
In Big Ten Openers
The Gophers are 12-17 all-time in their annual Big Ten Conference opener.
Minnesota is 6-3 in Big Ten openers under head coach Pam Borton, with four of those wins coming at home.
The Gophers and the Boilermakers have never previously met in a Big Ten Conference opener.
Minnesota vs. Ranked Opponents
Against ranked teams, the Gophers are 27-53 all-time and 18-40 under head coach Pam Borton.
The last time the Gophers defeated a ranked team was March 22, 2009, when they beat No. 23/20 Notre Dame, 79-71, in South Bend., Ind., in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota last defeated a ranked team at Williams Arena on Jan. 24, 2008, when they took down No. 15/15 Ohio State, 79-70, behind Leslie Knight's career-high 33 points.
Minnesota hosts Indiana in its Big Ten Conference home-opener at Williams Arena Monday, Jan. 2 at 2:00 p.m.
The Gophers lead the Hoosiers in the all-time series, 31-26, after splitting a home-and-home series last season.
Indiana claimed the first victory of 2010-11 at Williams Arena, 79-80, in overtime exactly one year ago on Jan. 2, before the Gophers bounced back to claim a 65-59 win on the road on Feb. 3.
The last time Minnesota defeated the Hoosiers at Williams Arena was on Jan. 8, 2009, to snap the visitors nine-game winning streak.
In that contest, Ashley Ellis Milan scored a season-high 18 points and hit a double-double with 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Gophers.
Last Time Out Minnesota got a career-high 20 points to go along with a game-best seven rebounds and four assists from Rachel Banham to post a 71-47 victory vs. NJIT in its non-conference finale Friday evening at Williams Arena.
Along with Banham, Kiara Buford also scored in double-figures for the Gophers with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, extending her streak of double-digit performances to a Big Ten-leading 14 games.
Katie Loberg added 10 points, matched the game-high with seven rebounds and had two blocks and two steals. Micaëlla Riché added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and five rebounds, while Leah Cotton scored seven points and grabbed four boards. Jackie Voigt contributed six points and four rebounds in the winning effort.
As a team, the Maroon and Gold shot .446 from the floor, which included a .529 shooting percentage in the first half, and gave NJIT all it could handle defensively and on the boards. The Gophers held the Highlanders to a .316 shooting percentage and forced 15 turnovers, while they out-rebounded the visitors, 47-34.
All 13 players on Minnesota's active roster saw action on the floor in the contest, with 11 pulling down at least one rebound.
Two-Time Big Ten Freshman of the Week
Rachel Banham was named the Big Ten Women's Basketball Freshman of the Week for the second time this season Dec. 26 after helping the Golden Gophers defeat NJIT in their final non-conference game of the year.
Banham scored a career-high 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the floor in the victory, while also contributing seven rebounds and four assists.
Banham was also a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line and 2-of-3 from beyond the arch.
The rookie has led the Gophers in shooting in seven games this year, including five of Minnesota's last six contests.
When Banham leads the team in points, the Maroon and Gold is 5-2 on the year.
The weekly honor was the second for Banham in her career and the second for the freshman in the month of December after earning the same distinction on Dec. 12.
Banham earned her first honor after helping the Gophers post three-straight non-conference victories vs. Air Force, Harvard and Alcorn State, including two wins en route to the Best Buy Classic title.
Banham averaged 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.0 steals in Minnesota's trio of wins, while shooting .514 from the field, .500 from three-point range and going a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
.400 is the Magic Number
The Golden Gophers are a flawless 7-0 when shooting .400 or better this season.
In those contests, Minnesota averaged a .458 (193-421) shooting percentage, which included a season-high .533 mark vs. Harvard.
The Maroon and Gold outscored its opponents, 519-357, and held its opposition to a .332 shooting percentage.
Single Games, Pick-Your-Packs on Sale Oct. 18
A Gopher Score presale for single-game tickets and pick-your-packs will open Oct. 17. Sales open at 9 a.m. both days.
B1G Announces Media Week, Tournament Tickets
Big Ten Tournament tickets will be available starting Oct. 21, and Big Ten Women's Basketball Week starts Oct. 23.
Whalen Inducted into M Club Hall of Fame
The week after winning her fourth WNBA title, the former Gophers guard was honored by her alma mater.