Iverson voices concerns about teammates’ play

Aaron Kirscht

The Gophers women’s basketball team seems to practice and play hard, but week after week — with a rare exception — the results are the same.
A casual look at the score of Sunday’s game with Indiana, a 103-75 loss, gives the impression that Minnesota barely showed up. And that impression isn’t far from wrong.
In that game, the Gophers amassed 34 turnovers, 10 more than their already excessive average. The game was effectively over only eight minutes into the first half.
Center Angie Iverson, who has put together a season that makes her a legitimate candidate for player of the year, is giving indications that she may be tired of carrying the Gophers every game.
“I don’t mean to cut down my teammates,” Iverson said after leading the team with 15 rebounds on Sunday, “but the next closest person had three rebounds. We need rebounding. We need people to go to the boards, and it’s not happening.”
Her 297 rebounds lead the Big Ten and the nation. But on the Gophers’ squad, guard Mindy Hansen is a distant second with 97 rebounds.
Before the Indiana game, Minnesota coach Linda Hill-MacDonald said her team had improved dramatically since Jan. 3 when they first met the Hoosiers. She said the Gophers should feel very confident about beating Indiana. What happened?
The turnover average continues to hover at ghastly levels, for starters. And the Gophers — even with Iverson’s help — are routinely out-rebounded, out-shot and out-hustled.
“At some point, you have to move past turning over the ball so much,” Hill-MacDonald said. “This is an experienced team now. There’s no excuse, and we’ll make no excuses.”
This ain’t so bad
Coaching in the Big Ten is supposed to be a demanding profession, but a couple of conference newcomers are making it look easy.
First-year Purdue coach Nell Fortner and Teresa Grentz, in her second year at Illinois, share the lead in the standings with the dean of Big Ten coaches, Michigan State’s Karen Langeland — a 21-year veteran. Last season, rookie coach Angie Lee led Iowa to the regular season championship.
Purdue was picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll, Illinois sixth and Michigan State fourth. Iowa, meanwhile, is alone in sixth place this season.
The Lizard speaks
Indiana coach Jim Izard was extremely pleased with his team’s Sunday performance. Or so he said.
“We executed extremely well, we shot the ball extremely well, we defended extremely well,” Izard said. “Rachel (Honegger, who came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points) shot the ball extremely well, Tat (Tatjana Vesel, who led Indiana with 22) shot extremely well, (point guard) Kristi Green handled the ball extremely well.”
So what are you trying to say, exactly, coach?
“I didn’t learn too many words,” Izard said. “I figure the fewer you learn the better off you are.”
After he got his redundancy under control, Izard got a little loopy. He was asked to predict what team would win the Big Ten Tournament, which begins later this month.
“Indiana,” he said. “This is a year where there’s not a dominant team in the league, and any one of seven or eight teams can win it.”
The Hoosiers are currently seventh in the Big Ten, with a 7-8 record — no doubt right where they want to be.