Minnesota plays final exhibition game Sunday

After coming out and putting up 86 points against Winona State on Wednesday, the Minnesota women’s basketball team will try to finish its exhibition play with a win against the University’s Crookston campus.

The Gophers host their in-state foe on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Williams Arena.

The Eagles are an extremely inexperienced team, returning just two players from a year ago, both of whom did not start a single game.

That means Minnesota-Crookston will add 11 new players to its roster this year, making it very vulnerable against the Gophers at home.

Eagles coach Mike Roysland is familiar with the atmosphere at Williams Arena, but not because of past experiences coaching. He is the father of Minnesota senior guard Kelly Roysland.

This is Mike Roysland’s first season as a head coach of the Minnesota-Crookston basketball program. Before getting the Crookston job, he coached high school volleyball and basketball in Winimac, Minn., and for the last four years he was a boy’s basketball coach in Fosston, Minn.

The game was scheduled before he got the job, but both father and daughter said they are very excited to take the floor together.

“It’s going to be a fun opportunity for us to be playing against each other,” Kelly Roysland said. “Normally I see him across from the bench in the stands, so it will be interesting to see him on the sidelines.”

This, however, is not the first time Mike Roysland has had to coach against a family member. He has coached against his wife and daughter both once before. The last time he coached against his daughter was when she was playing volleyball in seventh grade.

Mike Roysland described each of the opportunities he’s had to coach against a loved one as special and exciting.

“When you’re coaching against your family it’s really different,” he said, “I look at this opportunity as one that is going to be really fun and I’m really looking forward to it.”

With the two being on the floor at the same time, some questions may arise as to the distraction it would create during the game.

But Coach Pam Borton said she is confident that when it comes to game time, Kelly Roysland will be ready to play.

“I think Kelly is a mature individual and once the ball gets thrown up it will be Minnesota versus Crookston it won’t be Kelly versus her dad,” she said. “I think the maturity of level versus Kelly helps her and she’s excited and wants to play well.”

If Kelly Roysland can put up the same numbers against Crookston as she did against Winona State, it could leave her dad in a tight spot. Kelly Roysland’s 18 points and three three-pointers led Minnesota to a 38-point victory.

Kelly Roysland said she grew up with her dad helping her to become a better player.

“I definitely learned a lot from him,” Kelly Roysland said. “He was the first person to put a basketball into my hands and he’s always helped me out and has told me what he thought I could do get better and improve at.”

Mike Roysland said he is just excited to be able to get his team playing some games and to get to see his daughter play.

“I’m just very excited,” he said. “Having the opportunity to get my team on the court as well as being able to watch the Gophers and her play makes for a fun night.”