Minnesota will host its final home Big Ten weekend, as it
welcomes Michigan State and Northwestern to the Sports Pavilion. The Golden Gophers will host Michigan State on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and will welcome the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Michigan State is in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big Ten with a 7-9 record. The Spartans also have a 16-12 overall record. Northwestern is also locked in a three-way tie for sixth place at 7-9, and has a 16-11 overall record. Minnesota enters the weekend tied with Michigan for fourth place at 8-8. The Golden Gophers also bring a 15-11 overall record into the week.
Entering the final two weeks of Big Ten play, there are eight teams that can finish as high as third place or as low as 10th. Those eight teams are battling it out for possible NCAA Tournament position as well. Purdue (16-12) is in third place at 9-8, while Michigan (20-8), Minnesota (15-11) are tied for fourth at 8-8. Northwestern (16-11), Illinois (15-11) and Michigan State (16-12) are all tied for sixth place at 7-9. Ohio State (12-13) is in ninth at 6-10, while Indiana (15-14) is 10th at 6-11. The following is a list of each of the eight teams remaining schedules:
Mich. (2R, 2H) - at Pur., at Ind., OSU, PSU
Ill. (2R, 2H) - at OSU, at PSU, Minn., Iowa
Pur. (2R, 1H) - Mich., at MSU, at NU
NU (2R, 2H) - at Iowa, at Minn., Ind., Pur.
MSU (2R, 2H) - at Minn., at Iowa, Pur., Ind.
Minn. (2R, 2H) - MSU, NU, at Ill., at Wis.
OSU (1R, 3H) - Ill., Wis., PSU, at Mich.
Ind. (2R, 1H) - Mich., at NU, at MSU
Minnesota will honor seniors Jessy Jones and Kelly Roysland in a ceremony following Saturday night's match against Northwestern. Jones enters the week averaging 2.82 kpg, hitting .324 and averaging 1.61 blpg. She is third in the Big Ten in blocks per game and 10th in hitting percentage, and also leads Minnesota in both categories. Jones enters the week fourth on the Minnesota career list in blocks at 454, fourth in block assists at 378 and fourth in hitting percentage at .313. She is also the only remaining Golden Gopher on the roster to have played for the 2004 National Runner-Up team. Roysland is fourth on the team in digs at 2.07 dpg and is fourth in assists at 0.33 apg. She became the first Golden Gopher since 1979 to play both women's basketball and women's volleyball during her time at Minnesota. Roysland is also one of only four recorded players in the nation to play for a top-10 women's basketball program and a top-10 women's volleyball program. She finished her career 12th on the women's basketball all-time scoring list with 1,074 points and was a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2006-07.
Since 2002, Minnesota is 42-14 in the second half of the Big Ten season. The Golden Gophers have started the second half 3-3 this year. Minnesota was 8-2 in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Golden Gophers were also 7-3 in 2003 in the second half of the year. Minnesota has home matches remaining against Northwestern and Michigan State. The Golden Gophers also have road matches against Illinois and Wisconsin remaining.