Gophers women don't get in NCAA tournament

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 18, 2014 - 12:03 AM

The U’s failure to record a signature victory during the regular season proved costly.


Gophers guard Rachel Banham passed the ball against Ohio State.

Photo: Amanda Snyder, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Gophers women’s basketball team waited more than a week to get the bad news.

For the fifth consecutive season, the Gophers will not be going to the NCAA tournament. Teetering on the bubble since losing to Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, the team had to settle for a bid to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

The Gophers’ automatic bid to the WNIT was announced shortly after the NCAA selections were finished; automatic bids go to the highest-rated RPI team left in a conference after the NCAA bids. The Gophers will open at home against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Wednesday. The Phoenix (22-9) was the regular-season champion of the Horizon League but lost to Wright State in the conference tournament final.

Wednesday’s game time will be announced Tuesday.

“I thought our team did everything it needed to do and was deserving of a bid into the NCAA tournament,” Gophers coach Pam Borton said in a release. “But sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. However, we are excited to keep playing basketball together and ready to compete for a championship.’’

This is the second straight season the Gophers have had to settle for a WNIT bid. And in the wake of the announcement of the NCAA tournament field, perhaps the Gophers weren’t as close to getting a bid as they might have hoped.

Ultimately, the Gophers’ lack of signature victories — they did not register a win against a team that finished ahead of them in the conference standings — cost them. When asked, Carolayne Henry, head of the NCAA selection committee, indicated the Gophers were not among the first four teams eliminated from consideration.

A fifth straight season without an NCAA berth is bound to increase speculation about Borton’s future. The Gophers went to the tournament in her first four seasons as coach, which led to two berths in the Sweet 16 and a memorable run to the Final Four in the spring of 2004. But the team has gone only two more times in the past eight seasons, reaching the second round once.

Attendance also has steadily declined in recent seasons. This season, the Gophers drew an announced average of 3,178 fans for 17 home games.

Borton had maintained after winning in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament that her team had done enough to deserve an NCAA bid. But the selection committee clearly disagreed.

The Gophers were 0-6 against teams with top-25 RPI rankings, 1-1 against teams 26 to 50 and 6-3 against teams 51-100, losing to Creighton, UCLA and Indiana. The Gophers had a 3-5 conference road record, but none of the three wins came against teams ahead of them in the standings.

“When we were looking at the last four in, one of the things we noted was that the last four had multiple wins over top-50 teams,” Henry said. “While there were some losses in those columns, most of them had more top 50 wins than those that were left out.”

And the Gophers, clearly, were lacking by comparison.

“Looking at Minnesota, they lost all their top 25 games, lost three against teams 51-100 and lost one at 109 (Dec. 12 at Hawaii),” Henry said.

All that was enough to outweigh an RPI rating of 46, a 20-12 overall record and an 8-8 conference mark, good for a tie for sixth.

So now the team will have to shake off its disappointment and focus on the WNIT.

Before the NCAA selections were announced, star guard Rachel Banham vowed the team would do just that should the situation arise.

“I’ve been thinking about it,” she said. “If we don’t make the NCAA we go the WNIT and just go to work. We’ve talked about that. We need to prove ourselves in the WNIT. You always have to make a positive out of a negative.”

  • related content

  • Micaëlla Riché (15) and the Gophers will be back at Williams Arena for the WNIT on Wednesday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question