Minnesota hosts last game before long break

Riding an eight-game winning streak with one nonconference game remaining before Christmas break, the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team appears to be on a roll. The Gophers have been playing well on both ends of the floor, and will look to continue their steady defensive pressure and much-improved offense as they take on South Dakota State at Williams Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Jackrabbits enter the game with an 8-1 record as well, and have been one of just three nonconference teams to beat Minnesota at Williams Arena in the past four years. For that, junior forward Ashley Ellis-Milan said the team is looking for some redemption. âÄúThat game was circled on the schedule once we saw it,âÄù she said. âÄúLast time I donâÄôt think we played a full 40 minutes of Minnesota basketball, and I think we owe them one.âÄù The Gophers certainly have shown the ability to win this year, as they have seen marked improvement from the start of the season to now, from nearly everyone. Junior guard Katie Ohm has been shooting lights out recently, collecting more than 20 points in each of the last three games. Junior guard Brittany McCoy has also played well of late, improving her assist to turnover ratio to 1.92, and senior guard Emily FoxâÄôs ratio sits at 2.05. âÄúTo come in as a freshman and have these three as leaders is great,âÄù freshman forward Brianna Mastey said. âÄúThey keep helping us along, and theyâÄôre also taking the lead on the court.âÄù But improvements donâÄôt stop there, as the rest of the upperclassmen have made strides as well. Minnesota is shooting 45 percent as a team, and has seven players averaging seven or more points per game at this point. Coach Pam Borton said one possible reason for the improved scoring this year is the teamâÄôs work ethic in the gym. âÄúWe enter the season with the same mindset each year, but this year our players have a more mature mindset about what needs to happen for us to get better,âÄù coach Pam Borton said. âÄúThatâÄôs been the biggest improvement this year, and itâÄôs paying off on the court.âÄù Minnesota will have its focus set on South Dakota State on Tuesday night, but following that, the Gophers will see a long break. And as well as the team has been playing, Ellis-Milan said she wasnâÄôt looking forward to that. âÄúPersonally IâÄôd rather keep playing, weâÄôre doing so well,âÄù she said. âÄúBut then again, weâÄôll be in the gym during that time, so it will be an opportunity to get better. We have improved, but thereâÄôs still a lot we can improve on, and that will be our focus during that time.âÄù âÄúThere is no ceiling for us. Our work is just starting to show a little bit, I think weâÄôve only seen a sneak peak of whatâÄôs to come.âÄù