Minnesota reaping rewards thanks to rebounding dominance

The Gophers are out-rebounding their opponents by 9.5 boards per game.

David McCoy

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team cleans so much glass, it ought to be featured in a Windex commercial.

The 14th-ranked Gophers (18-4, 8-2) are dominating the boards this season, outrebounding their opponents by an average of 9.5 rebounds per game.

Much of the success of this year’s team can be attributed to its rebounding game.

“I think it’s key for our team,” guard Kelly Roysland said. “It gives us a higher percentage of winning games, and not letting them get second-chance opportunities is (a big part) of our success.”

The biggest reason for Minnesota’s success on the boards is Janel McCarville.

Named this week’s co-Big Ten player of the week for the third time this season, McCarville is averaging a double-double this season with 16.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

McCarville’s 10.4 rebounds per game and 8.15 defensive rebounds per game are both tops in the Big Ten by more than one rebound per game.

McCarville won the Big Ten’s rebounding and defensive rebounding titles last year as well.

“With (McCarville) on our team, we’re almost guaranteed to outrebound anybody,” forward Liz Podominick said.

Minnesota has, in fact, outrebounded nearly everybody this season, losing the rebounding battle just three times.

Two of those games resulted in both of its Big Ten losses to Penn State and Michigan State.

And the reason Minnesota has only two conference losses so far, compared with the three it had last year at this point, has much to do with its improvements on the boards.

Aside from allowing 0.4 more rebounds per game than last year, Minnesota has improved since last year in nearly all rebounding categories.

And that’s saying something, considering the fact that the Gophers led the Big Ten in three of the five team rebounding categories last year.

The improvement is probably most noticeable on the defensive end.

Minnesota finished third in the conference in defensive rebounds in 2003-04, exactly one rebound per game behind the top team, Wisconsin.

But this year, the Gophers are leading that category with more than two more defensive rebounds per game.

“I think we play so hard on the defensive end that it’s crucial for us to get rebounds for our tempo,” coach Pam Borton said. “We are a very good rebounding team, and it allows us to take control of the game.”