When Minnesota’s women’s basketball team’s opponents trail late in the game and need to commit an intentional foul to stop the clock, they know to steer clear of Kelly Roysland.
After knocking down her only free-throw attempt of the game Sunday at Penn State, Roysland hit her last 22 freebees.
She is coming dangerously close to breaking Minnesota’s school record of 26, set by Jodi Olson during the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.
“I guess I’m surprised,” Roysland said. “I had no idea, because I had not paid that much attention to it. It would be cool if I could make a couple more and break it.”
Roysland is also just two free throws short of the second-best mark of 24, also set by Olson later in the 1989-90 season.
Roysland leads the Gophers and is third in the Big Ten with a .889 free-throw percentage.
Right behind Roysland in free-throw percentage is Penn State’s Jess Strom, who helped sink Minnesota on Sunday by sinking all 15 of her free-throw attempts.
That set a Big Ten record, surpassing the previous record of 14-for-14 set by Northwestern’s Megan Chawansky on Jan. 11, 1998.
Big Ten packs them in
The Big Ten’s attendance is on the rise this year, and Minnesota – typically among the national leaders in that category – is no exception.
The Gophers are ranked sixth nationally in attendance with an average of 7,790 fans per game.
Through 173 Big Ten games this season, more than 48,000 more fans have attended a
Big Ten women’s basketball game than at the same point last year.
“It’s great for women’s basketball,” center Janel McCarville said. “It’s good for business, and it makes home court advantage that much better when you have fans screaming and yelling and heckling the other team.”
Feb. 3 also marks the 20th anniversary of the largest crowd for a women’s basketball game in NCAA and Big Ten history.
On Feb. 3, 1985, 22,157 fans packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena – which only has 15,500 seats – to watch Iowa play host to Ohio State, losing to the Buckeyes 56-47.
Officially, the game is ranked as only the 10th highest attendance in Big Ten history because only 14,821 fans paid for tickets.
But the 22,157 figure is still approximately 5,000 fans more than the official top attendance mark, set Jan. 20, 2002 by Minnesota when it played host to Wisconsin and 17,142 fans.
Cleaning the glass
Minnesota’s women’s basketball team leads the Big Ten in several rebounding categories.
The Gophers top the list with a 9.5-rebounds-per-game margin over their opponents and an average of just more than 26 defensive rebounds per game.
Minnesota’s ability to clean the glass is mostly because of McCarville, who leads the Big Ten in defensive rebounds with nearly eight per game, as well as overall rebounding with 10.2 per game.
“We place a big emphasis on rebounding, and I think we should be leading the Big Ten with the personnel we have,” coach Pam Borton said. “Janel is the reason why we are leading the Big Ten.”
McCarville, who averages a double-double per game, is also 10th in scoring, with just fewer than 16 points per game.
McCarville notched her 42nd career double-double Sunday at Penn State, making it her ninth of the season and fifth of the season in Big Ten play – most in the Big Ten in all three categories.