First road games to test Gophers’ consistency

Minnesota will play three games in three days at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.

Minnesota guard Rachel Banham plays against Villanova on Nov. 11, 2012 at Williams Arena.

Ichigo Takikawa

Minnesota guard Rachel Banham plays against Villanova on Nov. 11, 2012 at Williams Arena.

by Samuel Gordon

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team has handled business at home so far this season against weaker opponents.

Now it’ll go on the road for the first time for more of the same.

The Gophers will travel to Cancun, Mexico this week for the Cancun Challenge.

Minnesota has won two four-team tournaments to start its season, and it currently sits at 4-0.

After Sunday’s victory over Maine in the Subway Classic, forward Micaella Riche said she likes where the team’s at.

“I feel like most of our players have been pretty consistent,” she said. “I know what to expect from them most of the time.”

Riche has been consistently dominant so far this season.

She’s averaging 18.5 points per game and shooting better than 65 percent from the floor. She is also grabbing 8.8 rebounds a game.

“I trust myself more. I’m able to take my time,” Riche said. “Most of the time, I’m able to make better decisions.”

As a team, Minnesota has struggled away from home in the past. The Gophers were 15-4 at Williams Arena last year but just 3-4 in neutral site games.

The Gophers will play Richmond on Thursday, James Madison on Friday and Missouri on Saturday.

Richmond (1-3) is led by guards Rachael Bilney and Kristina King and forward Genevieve Okoro.

The trio combines to average more than 36 points per game. Bilney leads the way with 14.5 points a game.

James Madison is 1-2 this year. Guard Kirby Burkholder, the team’s top offensive option, averages 17.0 points.

On paper, Missouri (3-0) will pose the toughest test.

Missouri is balanced offensively with four players who average more than 10 points.

Gophers head coach Pam Borton said her team is still learning how to play together. She said focus will be key not only this week but throughout the season.

“I think it’s our job as coaches to keep them focused, especially when you have a young team,” she said.