U hoping for repeat success

The Gophers expect the same dominant showing as seen against Kansas State.

Dan Miller

Minnesota’s women’s basketball players each received a new pair of shoes from the NCAA after they advanced to the Sweet 16 of this year’s tournament.

However, after burying second-seeded Kansas State 80-61 on Tuesday night, the seventh-seeded Gophers might want to pack their old shoes as they depart today for Norfolk, Va., the site of Sunday’s game with third-seeded Boston College.

“It’s incredible how we played against Kansas State, we just hope we can keep it going and play our best (game) in the future,” Gophers sophomore point guard Shannon Schonrock said.

The Mideast Region semifinal tips off at Ted Constant Convocation Center at 1:30 p.m.

The Gophers, with their leading scorer Lindsay Whalen back in their lineup, found many ways to light up the score board against Kansas State and suffocate their opponent’s offense.

The Gophers had four players score in double figures Tuesday, and shot one percentage point better from behind the arc – 53.3 percent – than they did from inside it.

“Every one who got in hit a big shot,” Whalen said. “Something that teams might not have known before is that they have to respect those jump shooters.”

The Gophers gave up 81 points to UCLA last Sunday in their first round victory – 23 above Minnesota’s average. But Minnesota suffocated the Wildcats Tuesday holding them to 17 points in the first half.

“We were riding on a lot of emotion last weekend and we need to carry that over to this weekend, but I think we played against Kansas State as well as we’ve played,” Whalen said.

The game was only the second Whalen has played since sitting out a month on the sidelines with a broken shooting hand. Minnesota guard Shannon Bolden said Thursday that during Whalen’s layoff, her game has improved, and now she and the team are playing their best basketball.

“Now that (Whalen) is back, I am even more comfortable and confident,” Bolden said.

The bad news for Minnesota is that Boston College is also coming from one of its better games of the season, a 63-48 victory over Ohio State. The Eagles easily handled the Buckeyes, a team Minnesota has not beaten in three tries this season.

“Both our teams are playing great ball right now and exactly at the right time of the year,” Boston College coach Cathy Inglese said. “I think it will be a great game this weekend.”

The game Sunday will determine the hotter team and that team will be awarded with a trip to the Elite Eight. And maybe another new pair of shoes.