Bolden’s defense in the NCAA Tournament has been stingy

Dan Miller

NORFOLK, Va. – On a team with a coach who stresses defense above all, Minnesota women’s basketball sophomore Shannon Bolden has become one of the premier defenders playing in the NCAA Tournament.

In her last two games, Bolden has completely shut down two potent scorers. On Tuesday, she held Kansas State’s three-point specialist Laurie Koehn to only three points.

On Sunday, she didn’t give up a field goal to Boston College’s leading scorer Amber Jacobs, whose only bucket came in garbage time.

“I’ve worked on (defense) all year and improved throughout the year,” Bolden said. “Now, these are huge games that we’re playing, so you have all the adrenaline and all that energy, and that’s helped me stay in front of my player.”

She stayed in Jacobs’ face all afternoon Sunday and frustrated the senior in her last collegiate game.

“She did a great job just staying on me and not giving me a lot of open looks,” Jacobs said.

Bolden has been mostly a defensive specialist for the Gophers this season, but she scored in double figures in both of the past two tournament games. She scored 10 points against Kansas State on Tuesday and 13 against the Eagles on Sunday.

Bolden, who is usually assigned to the opponents’ best players, will have the matchup of her young career Tuesday. She will guard Duke’s Alana Beard, who many consider the best player in the country.

“She’s an All-American for a reason,” Bolden said of Beard. “She’s very explosive and especially dominant going to her right hand. It’s going to be a big challenge for me to be able to try to defend her – to try and shut her down.”

Andersson gets 1,000

Minnesota senior Kadidja Andersson passed the 1,000-point mark Sunday afternoon in the Gophers’ victory over Boston College.

Andersson, the forward from Stockholm, Sweden, scored 11 points in the game, and now has 1,008 points in her four years with the Gophers. She is averaging 8.9 points per game this season and is pulling down an average 4.2 rebounds per night.

She scored eight points in the Gophers’ game against Kansas State on Tuesday and scored 14 points versus UCLA in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

McCarville sets record

With her seven blocks Sunday afternoon against Boston College, Janel McCarville set a record for the most blocks in a NCAA Mideast Regional game. The previous record was six blocks, made by Jana Rediger of Villanova, against Colorado on March 29, 2003.

Cinderella story

By advancing to the Elite Eight, the Gophers become only the third seventh-seed to advance to a regional final game.

The other two teams, Old Dominion (2002) and Arkansas (1990), did not make it to the Final Four.