Gophers women’s basketball going dancing

No. 10 Minnesota will face No. 7 Notre Dame on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

One day after the Minnesota menâÄôs basketball team celebrated its invite to the Big Dance, the Gophers womenâÄôs basketball team found out they will be doing some dancing of their own. On Monday night it was announced that the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball squad reached the NCAA tournament as a 10 seed and will face seventh-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. âÄúThere is nothing more exciting if you are a basketball coach or a player to be playing at this time of year and being a part of March madness,âÄù Gophers coach Pam Borton said on Monday. âÄúThis is what we play for.âÄù The game will be played in the IrishâÄôs home facility in South Bend, Ind., which Borton said does not concern her or her players. âÄúThis team has played well all year on the road,âÄù Borton said. âÄúWeâÄôve played better on the road than we have at home.âÄù Notre Dame comes in with a 22-8 overall record this season, while finishing 10-6 in the powerful Big East conference. The Irish were last beaten by Villanova in a 58-47 loss on Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Despite a 10-1 start to the season, the Gophers ended up on the bubble, finishing the year 11-7 in the Big Ten and 19-11 overall. The Gophers also lost their last game in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament 79-64 to Iowa. âÄúThis is a second chance for us and itâÄôs really exciting,âÄù senior guard Emily Fox said. One of five Big ten teams in the tournament, Minnesota finished fifth in the Big Ten in the regular season. The GophersâÄô signature win this season was at Ohio State âÄì the conference regular-season and tournament champion âÄì while sweeping Michigan State and splitting with Iowa also helped the tournament resume. âÄúWeâÄôve had a lot of quality wins this season and I feel like thatâÄôs what locked us in,âÄù Borton said. The Gophers are also placed in the same region as highly-touted Connecticut âÄì the only remaining unbeaten team in all of college basketball. The Huskies, the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, are the No. 1 seed in the Trenton Region. âÄúWe will have to really show what we are capable of doing,âÄù Borton said. This is the eighth trip to the NCAA tournament for the Gophers and sixth in BortonâÄôs seven-year coaching tenure. âÄúWe are so fortunate to be in the tournament,âÄù junior center Ashley Ellis-Milan said. âÄúWeâÄôve come to understand that getting into the NCAA tournament is a tradition here.âÄù For Fox, one of two Gophers seniors along with reserve guard Kay Sylva, this NCAA tournament serves as her last chance to fulfill some goals she made before even starting her collegiate career. âÄúObviously I came to the University of Minnesota to make the NCAA tournament and go far in the tournament,âÄù Fox said. âÄúTo go to the tournament means so much to me.âÄù The winner of the Minnesota/Notre Dame game would play the winner of the 11 a.m. game between No. 15 Evansville and No. 2 Texas A&M. Last season Minnesota fell in the first round of the tournament as a ninth seed against eighth-seeded Texas.