Lindsay Whalen’s Gophers won’t have 14,625 fans behind them for the second game of their famous new coach’s career at the front of the bench, but they may not need them.
Minnesota’s women’s basketball team will look to start 2-0 on Wednesday night when it travels to Cincinnati to face Big East basement dweller Xavier in its first road game.
The Gophers crushed New Hampshire 70-47 last week in their season opener in front of that record-setting crowd at Williams Arena.
Whalen’s debut was the headline, but Annalese Lamke (21 points), Kenisha Bell (17, and eight assists) and Taiye Bello (14, and 14 rebounds) were other highlights. The big win caught the attention of Associated Press voters, too, as the Gophers landed at No. 25 in the latest poll.
Now the Whalen Show hits the road for the first time. Don’t be too surprised if the final score looks similar to the first game, though. Xavier, a power team in men’s basketball, has struggled on the women’s side. The Musketeers are 2-0, having dispatched lightweights Chicago State and Tennessee Tech at home, but went 10-20 last season and just 3-15 in the Big East to finish in last place.
That was a slight drop from their 12-18, 4-14 season the previous winter.
If the Gophers pass this road test, they will be well-positioned to start the season 5-0. Three home games against non-Power Five opponents await: San Diego (Saturday), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 20) and Cornell (Nov. 23).