Gophers fine tuning the defense in final exhibtion before Stanford

stbridgesymposium

Ali Haupt

stbridgesymposium

With just a week to go before opening up against No. 2 Stanford, the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team seems to be looking forward to its one last exhibition match. After defeating Concordia 69-54 last weekend, the Gophers face Minnesota State Moorhead at Williams Arena Sunday at 2 p.m., looking to shore up a few final areas in their game. âÄúI think the goal is for us to take another step further than last Sunday,âÄù coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWe felt that we could have done a little better job with decision making in transition from our veterans, and then more ball pressure on defense.âÄù Junior center Zoe Harper also stressed that the Gophers were still working to fine-tune the defense. âÄúWe want to work on our defensive pressure, which includes getting up in the lane and pressuring the ball,âÄù she said. âÄúBut Pam says we donâÄôt want to be in peak condition now, or sheâÄôd be a little worried, so weâÄôve got some time yet.âÄù With plenty of young talent to go along with a solid core of upperclassmen, Minnesota will also be looking to mix the groups this season, in hopes of smoother transitions between the play of the starting lineup and play coming off the bench. Junior forward Ashley Ellis-Milan said the freshman class was coming along well. âÄúTheyâÄôre getting better every day,âÄù she said. âÄúTheyâÄôre doing things we werenâÄôt doing as freshmen, so weâÄôre happy with where theyâÄôre at right now.âÄù Freshman forward Jackie Voigt made a case for playing time last weekend, grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the team, and will likely receive plenty of time on the court Sunday. âÄúJackie gave us some good minutes,âÄù Borton said. âÄúI thought she played with poise. There was some nervousness out there, but I was very pleased with all the freshmen.âÄù Senior guard Emily Fox is still expected to be the offensive leader this year, and started off well in the first exhibition game, scoring 15 points to lead the Gophers. Along with Fox and progress from the freshmen, Harper said the team was showing some promise in some other areas as well. âÄúWeâÄôre doing well rebounding; we had something like 60 rebounds in the first exhibition,âÄù she said. âÄúSo that obviously is one of our strengths. And I think our defense was good for about half the game. I think itâÄôs ahead of our offense right now, as far as progress goes.âÄù