U's top women's basketball recruit needs company

  • Article by: RON HAGGSTROM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2014 - 11:52 PM

Carlie Wagner, the state’s No. 1 recruit, is U-bound, but Pam Borton’s successor must land more top in-state players.

hide

Top recruit Carlie Wagner of New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva said she is sticking with her commitment to Minnesota.

Photo: bruce bisping • bbisping@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Carlie Wagner walked off the elevated floor of Williams Arena on March 22 with a huge smile on her face. The New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva standout guard had just led her team to back-to-back Class 2A state championships.

Less than a week later, the enthusiastic Wagner was sporting a more solemn tone. The future Gopher just had learned of the firing of the coach, Pam Borton, who recruited her to play in the Big Ten Conference.

“It’s like a punch to my stomach,” Wagner said. “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I’m surprised.”

Borton was fired Friday, the day after her Gophers lost to South Dakota State in the third round of the WNIT. It marked the end of a 12-year tenure that started strong but failed to produce an NCAA tournament berth the past five years.

As news of the coaching change spread across the state Friday and Saturday, the high school basketball community talked about the program developing deeper roots while becoming more successful.

“The bottom line is you have to get to the NCAA tournament, and win,” Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff said. He has guided the Royals to five Class 4A state championships since the 2003-04 season. “That hasn’t happened the last five years.”

Borton compiled a record of 236-152 during her 12 seasons. She guided the program to six NCAA tournament appearances, including a 2004 Final Four trip.

Cosgriff, the most successful active Class 4A coach in the state, always has been a supporter of the Gophers women’s basketball program, and will be in the future.

“Minnesota is a great job, and will be for a long time,” Cosgriff said. “There is a lot of talent in this state. The name of the game at the college level is recruiting.”

The state’s best in the Class of 2014 is Wagner. The Miss Basketball candidate concluded her career as the state’s No. 2 scorer of all time with 3,957 points. She committed to Borton and the Gophers during her junior season.

“I always wanted to be a Gopher,” Wagner said. “I knew what I wanted at that time, and locked into it. I still plan on going there.”

Wagner said she will be on campus in June for summer school and preseason workouts, just as Borton had planned.

“I enjoyed my entire senior year, and this is something that is out of my control,” Wagner said. “I appreciate everything Coach Borton did for me.”

Former Lakeville North coach Andy Berkvam produced Gophers standout guard Rachel Banham. Berkvam had concerns about the program when Banham told him that she was headed to the school. He also coached Liz Podominick, one of five players who quit Borton’s program during the 2005-06 season.

“I asked Rachel what her goals were for the next five years [including her senior season in high school],” said Berkvam, who has just completed his first year coaching the Northfield boys’ basketball team. “Rachel said she wanted to win a Big Ten championship, make the NCAA tournament and reach the Final Four. I wanted her to understand that probably wasn’t going to happen at Minnesota because she wouldn’t have the players around her to compete at the national level.”

That problem was magnified by the 2013 recruiting class. Borton wasn’t able to lure any of top four players in the state to Minnesota. They were Hopkins’ Nia Coffey (Northwestern), Braham’s Rebekah Dahlman (Vanderbilt), DeLaSalle’s Tyseanna Johnson (Iowa State) and Richfield’s Jessica January (DePaul).

“We have a lot of good high school players in the state,” Berkvam said. “If she gets some of those players to come to Minnesota, we probably aren’t having this discussion.”

North Tartan AAU President Bill Larson would like to see Borton’s successor reach out to more communities and coaches around the state. He oversees the state’s most highly regarded summer teams.

“You have to build relationships in the entire state of Minnesota,” Larson said. “You have to build a bond in all of the cities.”

And with that will come more success, according to Larson.

“It’s a relationship game,” Larson said. “We’ve had a lot of kids go to Minnesota. We’ll be as supportive as we can to the program. We want them to get to a high level, and stay at a high level.”



  • related content

  • Pam Borton surveyed what became the final minutes of her stay with the Gophers as South Dakota State finished beating the U in the WNIT.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 68 3rd Qtr 6:20
Sacramento 77
Minnesota 44 2nd Qtr 1:05
Golden State 56
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 4 3rd Prd :27
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd 3:54
Calgary 3
San Jose 1 2nd Prd 7:13
Los Angeles 2
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 40 2nd Half 8:51
UNLV 65
SD Christian 39 2nd Half 7:00
San Diego St 66
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 34 4th Qtr 9:46
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close