Gophers cruise in exhibition

Emily Wickstrom

Despite playing without two starters, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team looked ready for the regular season in its exhibition debut.

The Gophers cruised to an 89-41 victory over Wisconsin AAU on Wednesday at Williams Arena.

Minnesota coach Pam Borton announced after the game that junior forward Jamie Broback is taking a personal leave of absence from the team for an undisclosed amount of time.

Senior point guard April Calhoun was previously out with a foot injury, leaving Minnesota without two main contributors from last year’s team.

But even without Broback and Calhoun, the Gophers were impressive from the start.

Minnesota started the game on a 12-0 run and held the Rangers scoreless until 13:16 remaining in the first half.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight,” senior guard Shannon Schonrock said. “But I think it was a great start to the season. I think a lot of people stepped up.”

Four Gophers – Schonrock, Lauren Lacey, Kelly Roysland, and Natasha Williams – scored in double figures, led by Lacey, who came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points.

Williams looked as if she is able fill the role of the now-departed Janel McCarville, grabbing 16 rebounds.

“It’s a team and collective group that has to go out there and rebound,” Williams said. “It just happened that I was going after it tonight.”

One of Minnesota’s strengths this season might already be clear, as the team shot a combined 15 of 18 from the free-throw line for 83.3 percent.

Every Minnesota player in uniform got on the floor and was ready to play, capped by little-used Hannah Garry, who came off the end of the bench to dive on the floor in the final seconds of play.

“We saw a lot of things that us coaches were very pleased with,” Borton said. “For our first outing, I was very pleased with our effort and intensity.

“We have the potential to be better than we were last year.”

Three early signees

Borton announced three members of her 2006-2007 recruiting class Wednesday.

Korinne Campbell of Lawrenceville, N.J.; Brittany McCoy of Lincolnwood, Ill.; and Breanna Salley of St. Francis all signed National Letters of Intent to join the Gophers next season.

Kelly Mullaney of Breck High School is also expected to sign.