Broback meets with coaches, rejoins team activities today

Emily Wickstrom

It appears as though Minnesota’s women’s basketball team won’t have to worry about playing without Jamie Broback.

Gophers coach Pam Borton said Tuesday that Broback has rejoined the team after a leave of absence.

She will not play in this weekend’s Subway Classic, but will be on the bench in street clothes, Borton said.

“Jamie has taken steps to take care of business off the court,” Borton said. “Everybody’s happy that she’s back with the team.”

Although Broback is going to start lifting and doing other team activities today, she will not begin practicing until next week.

Broback is Minnesota’s top returning scorer from last season. She averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and was selected to the preseason All-Big Ten team.

Sophomore Natasha Williams fared well starting in Broback’s spot in the Gophers’ two exhibition games, averaging 13 points and 11.5 points.

“We’ve got other very talented kids that can play the same spot and do the same things and meet the same expectations (as Broback),” Borton said. “I credit our team for going through this period and being extremely strong.”

Calhoun return likely this weekend

After sitting out with a foot injury for the past few weeks, senior point guard April Calhoun will likely see the floor at the Subway Classic.

Calhoun did some shooting yesterday and is “easing her way back in” to Minnesota’s lineup, Borton said.

The minutes Calhoun plays this weekend will reflect on how she feels practicing the rest of the week.

“We don’t want to do too much too soon,” Borton said. “It’s going to be day-to-day. Right now we’re planning on dressing her and playing her accordingly.

“This is not the most important time of the year and we’re going to need April down the line, and that’s more important.”

Gophers begin tough nonconference schedule

Minnesota’s nonconference schedule this season is the most difficult it’s been under Borton.

With nonconference games at home against Iowa State and Nebraska, and on the road at New Mexico and Louisiana State, the Gophers will be more challenged outside the Big Ten than they’ve been in the past.

Their tough slate could start as early as Sunday with a match-up against No. 11 Stanford, should both teams win as expected in the Subway Classic’s opening games.

“Any time you can have great games like that it only makes you more prepared for the Big Ten season,” senior guard Shannon Schonrock said. “And the season we’re playing for is tournament time. It’s exciting that our non-conference is going to be tough this year.”

Matt Anderson contributed to this story.