Borton hopes WNIT run will help propel Gophers to NCAA berth next year

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 12:23 AM

If progress is measured in incremental steps for the Gophers women’s basketball team, next year should bring about the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2009.

hide

Minnesota head coach Pam Borton.

Photo: Michael Conroy, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

If progress is measured in incremental steps for the Gophers women’s basketball team, next year should bring about the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2009.

“Absolutely,” head coach Pam Borton said when asked if that is a realistic expectation. “I felt we had a good chance to do it this year. It’s our fault we didn’t do what we needed to do to get in.”

Instead, the Gophers (18-13, 7-9 in the Big Ten) settled for a WNIT bid and a first-round matchup against Ball State at 7 p.m. Friday at Williams Arena. That’s a step up from last season, when Minnesota ended the regular-season 15-17 and accepted a bid into the lower-level WBI postseason tourney, where it won four home games against foes outside of major conferences to take home the title.

With all five of this year’s starters expected back next season, Borton hopes a run in this year’s WNIT — which features 64 teams, including many from top conferences — will help build momentum toward an NCAA berth next year.

“I think it’s great for our young team to continue to play in March. We’re in a better situation this year than we were last year. … For this group, it’s an educational process,” she said. “We need to use this to propel us.”

In particular, Borton is hoping to see better defensive intensity from her entire team and more offensive consistency outside of Rachel Banham. The sophomore averaged 21.0 points this season. Micaella Riche chipped in 13.0 per game, but no other player averaged more than seven. As a team, Minnesota was second in the Big Ten in scoring (70 ppg) but second-to-last in points allowed (65.8 ppg).

“It comes down to a couple of possessions every game,” Borton said. “Our problem is consistency. That’s what we’re looking for here in the final stretch.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite team in the NCAA men's hockey tournament?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close