Whalen named player of the week as Gophers move to No. 12

Brian Stensaas

Minnesota junior guard Lindsay Whalen was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. The award is Whalen’s first Big Ten weekly honor this season and the sixth of her career.

Whalen averaged 26.3 points, 8.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game in three Gopher victories last week. In the Gophers’ win at Loyola, Whalen nearly collected a triple-double, finishing with 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

She scored 36 points against New Orleans to open the Air Force Tournament, tying the highest scoring output in the Big Ten this season (Kelly Mazzante, Penn State). Whalen finished the week with a 14-point, nine-assist outing in the championship game against Air Force and was honored as the tournament’s MVP.

Whalen leads the Gophers in scoring and assists, averaging 25.6 points and 8.0 assists per game, respectively.

Minnesota is 5-0 on the season, matching the best start in school history (1982-83). The Gophers travel east this weekend for a Friday game at Providence and a Sunday contest at Harvard.

Highest ranking ever

minnesota women’s basketball team is ranked No. 12 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Women’s College Basketball Poll, released Monday.

The Gophers’ No. 12 ranking is the highest in school history, bettering the No. 14 rank Minnesota held last week and for one week in the 2001-02 season.

The Gophers have now been ranked in the last 12 AP polls dating back to Jan. 21.

Bowl decision on hold

the waiting game continues.

Nearly 10 days after ending its season with a 49-31 loss at Wisconsin, Minnesota’s football team still does not have official word on where it will be spending the last week of 2002.

The team is in the same boat as five of the six other Big Ten teams which are bowl eligible and still waiting. Ohio State – which accepted a bid to the Fiesta Bowl to play for the national championship – is the only Big Ten team with a confirmed bowl bid.

Athletics directors from the Big Ten held a teleconference with league Commissioner Jim Delany on Monday with no new details regarding bowl placement surfacing.

However, the Bowl Championship Series standings were released late Monday. The BCS and the Big Ten will hold separate teleconferences Tuesday. The Big Ten teleconference may be used to further discuss postseason matters.

“No one is trying to hold the other up on this, it’s just the craziness of it all,” Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi said.

What is holding everything up is the lingering question of where Iowa will be placed. With Ohio State playing in the national championship game, the Rose Bowl – traditionally the host to the Big Ten champion – could take any BCS eligible team.

However, the Hawkeyes would seem to be a reasonable choice not only for their 11-1 record but to keep the Big Ten/Pac 10 tradition alive.

Should Iowa go to Pasadena, it would almost guarantee the Gophers are headed to Nashville, Tenn., for the Dec. 30 Music City Bowl. Otherwise, it is likely Minnesota will play Toledo in the Dec. 26 Motor City Bowl, a rematch of the Sept. 14 game between the two teams.

While Maturi said he is not out to bash any bowl, he would rather see the Hawkeyes in California and the Gophers in Tennessee.

“If Iowa isn’t in one of those eight (BCS) spots, I think most football knowledgeable people would say that it’s hogwash,” he said. “No question I think our fans would like Nashville. We’re excited about the possibility of going there.”