Expectations high for women’s hoops

Dan Miller

There is no question: The expectations for Minnesota’s women’s basketball team have never been higher.

On Thursday, at the Gophers’ annual media day, coach Pam Borton met the expectations without hesitation.

“I want to be somewhere with high expectations,” Borton said. “With the types of players we bring in, we only have high expectations.”

Expectations are no stranger to sophomore Shannon Schonrock, who started 10 of the last 11 games for the Gophers.

On Thursday, Schonrock said she’ll just focus on improving her game.

“I am going to look to be more aggressive on the offensive end and work on being more vocal,” she said.

With Schonrock at point guard handling the ball as much as expected, questions were raised if two-time All-American Lindsay Whalen will get her looks.

But Borton said it won’t be a problem.

“You have to have other options on the court,” Borton said. “Especially when you are playing in the Big Ten and everyone has your number.”

This year, Big Ten teams will not be the only ones who know what the Gophers can do.

Since March 31, when they lost to Texas in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, the Gophers have been thrown onto the national basketball stage.

“TV is such a big thing,” Borton said. “With the NCAA games being televised we can talk to kids around the country about Minnesota and they have seen us play.”

Minnesota has taken notice as well.

Thus far, 3,709 tickets have been sold – a 53 percent increase over last season’s 2,412 tickets and an even more dramatic increase from 2001 when 42 season tickets were sold.

With fans jumping onboard the bandwagon, the Gophers start the season Nov. 5 with an exhibition game against Team Concept Inc. at Williams Arena.

If the Gophers outside preseason expectations aren’t enough, Borton wanted to add her own internal pressure.

“We have anticipated to have the best season in the history of women’s basketball here,” Borton said. “That is the expectation for ourselves.”