Gophers with a chance to notch another big win tonight

SDSU Basketball vs. Gophers

SDSU 65 Gophers 55

Marija Majerle

SDSU Basketball vs. Gophers SDSU 65 Gophers 55

Beating No. 15-ranked Ohio State on the road for the first time in team history last Thursday was a significant accomplishment for the University of Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team. A week before that, the Gophers took down a tough Indian squad at home âÄî a team that currently sits atop the Big Ten standings. On Thursday, Minnesota hits the road to face the next toughest conference opponent: Purdue âÄî which the Gophers are currently tied with for third place in the Big Ten. While the Gophers have fared well against the conferenceâÄôs top teams in the last two weeks, Minnesota struggled against teams below them in the Big Ten standings. A 17-point loss on the road to Iowa on Jan. 11, and needing a second-half comeback to achieve a narrow victory over Michigan on Sunday, showed both the depth the Big Ten has this season and how the Gophers need to come ready to play every game. âÄúWeâÄôve got to play extremely well to win on the road as a team,âÄù Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to have to be very balanced and everyone is going to have to be on the same page to win there.âÄù One key to the GophersâÄô recent success has been the progression of junior forward Ashley Ellis-Milan, who on Tuesday was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 18 points and eight rebounds in MinnesotaâÄôs past two victories. âÄúI think I have been playing pretty well not just these past two games, but for a while now,âÄù Ellis-Milan said. âÄúAnd post presence is a key to our teamâÄôs success.âÄù Ellis-Milan shot 63 percent on the week and averaged 38 minutes per game. âÄúI think a lot of what makes Ashley a good player is her heart,âÄù Borton said. âÄúAnd when you have the heart of a lion and her intensity, thatâÄôs what makes Ashley a great player.âÄù Facing more double-teams is something that Ellis-Milan expects now that she is getting more offensive recognition. But she said she is always willing to kick the ball out to any of the Gophers excellent 3-point shooters âÄî including MinnesotaâÄôs other Big Ten Player of the Week this season: guard Katie Ohm. Ohm leads the team this season in 3-point percentage with a clip of 46 percent. âÄúPeople have to step up and hit some open shots because we are going to have some open people,âÄù Borton said. At the same time that Minnesota is riding high after two straight victories, Purdue is coming off a tough 71-57 loss to Indiana âÄî the same team the Gophers beat on Jan. 8 and the Hoosiers only conference loss this season. But the Boilermaker roster is loaded with talent, topped by All-American forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who averages 13.1 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. Before PurdueâÄôs loss to Indiana âÄî which finished the game with the Boilermakers on a 17-1 scoring run âÄî Wisdom-Hylton led Purdue on a four-game win-streak of its own. Borton said after the Michigan win that every game will be a challenge this season in the Big Ten. The ups and downs that Minnesota and Purdue have already faced in conference play truly prove her point. âÄúWe look at it day-to-day and try and come in here every day to get better,âÄù Borton said. âÄúWe had a great last week, and we want to put together another great week this week.âÄù