Gophers host Subway Basketball Classic

Illinois-Chicago and Colorado visit with some familiar talent.

by Aleutian Calabay

The Gophers womenâÄôs basketball team is looking to get back in the win column as they host the Subway Baksetball Classic this weekend at Williams Arena. Minnesota will face Illinois-Chicago on Saturday and then Colorado on Sunday. Both games start at 6 p.m. The tournament sets up as homecoming for players on both visiting teams. Illinois-ChicagoâÄôs Cassie Johnson, Jessie Miller and Kiara Strickland and Colorado junior Kelly Jo Mullaney all hail from the Twin Cities metro. âÄúItâÄôs a great tournament for us,âÄù Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWe get quality teams up here, different types of teams and different looks, and itâÄôs an opportunity for us to have a couple home games.âÄù This marks the 29th season in which the Gophers host an early-season tournament and the seventh season of the Subway Classic. Minnesota will look to use the tournament to get back on track following their early season 60-59 loss to Utah on Tuesday. The Gophers are clearly still shaking off early season rust as they look to get their shooting on track. Minnesota shot just .368 from the field in their season opening win over Lamar and dropped to .323 against Utah. âÄúIt [shooting better] is easier said than done,âÄù senior Katie Ohm said. âÄúBut itâÄôs early in the season, weâÄôve only had two games and thereâÄôs a lot of season left. We just got to keep pushing forward. ItâÄôs a mental thing, so we just need to shake it off.âÄù Despite some early season woes shooting the basketball, the Gophers have also had some pleasant surprises. Sophomore guard Kiara Buford, in her first games as a starter, has quickly grabbed the spotlight, averaging 16 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Minnesota now needs other players to step up more consistently to take some scoring pressure off Buford as well as keep opponentsâÄô defenses guessing. âÄúI think we can beat anybody in the country, and I think we can lose to anybody in the country,âÄù Borton said. âÄúI think thatâÄôs where we are as a team. I think with the type of effort we have and with the type of consistency that we need to have, we can play with anybody and we will dominate [this weekend].âÄù