Gophers have chance to repay Bison at Williams

North Dakota State handed the Gophers a solid 62-48 beating last season in Fargo.

by Mark Heise

The Minnesota women’s basketball team might be off to a good start, but the Gophers will be hoping to have a little better luck this year against North Dakota State than they did last season.

The Bison come to Williams Arena tonight to face Minnesota at 7 p.m., after pounding last year’s Gophers 62-48 in Fargo, N.D.

And despite Minnesota’s ability to nail down wins so far, coach Pam Borton said there are still areas to improve.

“At times we’ve been fairly sloppy, but we’ve also put together some good stretches,” she said. “We still have a lot to work on, but it’s nice to come out with some wins.”

In order to keep the streak going, the Gophers (4-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) will have to do a better job of stopping senior guard Lisa Bue, who tallied 21 points in the meeting last year.

Bue is averaging 18 points per game this season, followed by senior guard Emily Moran’s 14 points per game.

Minnesota matches North Dakota State’s fast-break style of play, and will counter with Emily Fox’s 17.2 points per game and her uncanny ability to hit shots late in the game.

“We’ve just seen the beginning of what Emily Fox is going to do,” Borton said. “She steps up and hits big shots, and that’s what we need her to do.”

North Dakota (1-1, 0-0 Summit League) will be at a distinct size disadvantage, with its tallest player standing at 6-feet-2-inches, meaning the Gophers’ already strong rebounding might have a dominant effect on the game.

Sophomore forward Korinne Campbell leads the team with 8.2 rebounds per game, while sophomore forward Ashley Ellis-Milan averages eight boards per game. Ellis-Milan pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds against North Dakota State the last time these two teams met.

As strong as the starters have played for Minnesota lately, the bench will also need to continue producing for the Gophers to be successful.

“We’ve been getting great production from our bench,” Borton said. “Kay (Silva) and Zoe (Harper) have been productive, and that’s what makes us a good basketball team.”