Gophers women face tough NIT test at South Dakota State

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 27, 2014 - 10:15 AM

Sari Noga is thankful for the Gophers’ WNIT run.

hide

Gophers guard Rachel Banham

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, DML - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

After she had scored a career-high 22 points to help the Gophers women’s basketball team beat Southern Methodist on Sunday, Sari Noga made sure to say thanks.

It has quickly become a tradition as the Gophers make their way through the women’s NIT. Noga, one of two seniors on the team, thanks her teammates for letting her play another game. “I’m not ready for it to be done,” Noga said.

But now it will get a little more difficult.

The Gophers (22-12) are on the road for the first time in the WNIT. The Gophers will play at South Dakota State (24-9) in Thursday’s third-round game, with the winner facing either Indiana or Northwestern in the quarterfinals.

The Jackrabbits — the Summit League regular-season champs — have won 15 of their past 17 games, are unbeaten at home this season (16-0) and have a roster full of players from Minnesota who would like nothing better than to beat the Gophers.

The Gophers are also a bit beat up. Gophers coach Pam Borton said star guard Rachel Banham is expected to play despite a mid-right foot sprain that kept her out most of the second half of Sunday’s victory. Backup guard Stabresa McDaniel is expected to miss the game because of concussion-like symptoms.

That gives the Gophers, who already had two players out with injuries, a seven-player roster against a deep SDSU team.

“In this game in particular we have to be pretty mentally tough,” Borton said. “We have to be locked into what we’re doing. We have to be the more aggressive team. We have to make sure our defense and rebounding are solid. I think it comes down to mental toughness. I believe we can go in there and win.”

The Gophers also have to hope Banham is healthy enough to be effective and that the Gophers don’t experience the foul trouble they battled in the SMU game when freshman center Amanda Zahui B. was limited to 22 minutes.

The positive thing to come out of that game, though, was some surprising balance. With Banham out and Zahui battling foul trouble, other players stepped up.

Noga had a career high in points. Kayla Hirt scored 12 points, with four assists. Mikayla Bailey had her first career double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) and freshman Joanna Hedstrom played effectively (six rebounds, three assists) in 23 minutes.

“The entire year I’ve been trying to learn from the guards in practice,” Hedstrom said. “It was fun to get out there and play. It was good to gain confidence. We had to grind out those last 10 minutes. We had to win it for Rachel.”

Said Borton: “I have always known this team has fighters. We’ve got kids who step up when they need to.’’

Now the Gophers have to beat a well-tested Jackrabbits team whose nonconference victories included a four-point win over Penn State and, most recently, a victory over Creighton. South Dakota State is also accustomed to winning at home.

“We’ve played well on the road this year,” Noga said. “Every game, we come into it ready to play. I think we know a lot of the girls on that team. I know a lot of ’em. So it will be fun to battle against them.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh 4 Top 9th Inning
St. Louis 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit 5 Top 3rd Inning
Cleveland 1
Seattle 0 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 5
San Francisco 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Colorado 2
Arizona 0 Top 4th Inning
San Diego 0
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 7 15:00
Calgary 8
Indiana 39 3rd Qtr
Chicago 31
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close