More experienced Gophers take floor in Exhibition

by Paul Cordes

Last season, coach Pam Borton had many questions about how her team would perform in its opening exhibition game as she sent out a starting lineup with a total of 18 games started between them, all of which came from then-senior guard Kelly Rosland.

But tonight, when the Gophers square off against Minnesota State at Williams Arena at 7 p.m., things will be a little different.

Borton could potentially send four starters to the floor with 129 games started among them.

“Last year we didn’t really know what to expect and we had a very young team,” Borton said at Media Day a week ago. “I think with the experience and the expectations that we put on some of our very young kids last year, and now with them being more mature, them having a lot of playing minutes under their belt, that we can see them making a big jump this year.”

Junior guard Emily Fox, sophomore guard Brittany McCoy, and senior Leslie Knight started in all 33 games last season and are projected starters for tonight’s game.

Sophomore forward Korinne Campbell appeared in all 33 games last season, though not making any starts, and is also a projected starter for the exhibition.

The Gophers’ only question mark will be at the post where sophomores Zoe Harper and Ashley Ellis-Milan continue to compete for the starting job.

Ellis-Milan started 30-of-33 games last season, while Harper started the other three but appeared in all 33.

Barnes out for the season

Minnesota will open up and finish the season with one of its captains permanently sidelined with a season-ending knee injury.

Senior Jordan Barnes tore her ACL in practice Saturday and will undergo knee surgery in upcoming weeks.

That leaves Minnesota down a solid defensive option off the bench as well as a senior leader on the floor.

Last season Barnes appeared in 32 games, averaging 12.4 minutes a game. Though her 1.8 points and rebounds per games don’t jump out as overwhelming statistics, her defensive tenacity will be noticeably missed this year.

Barnes would need to be granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA if she wanted to return to play another year.