Coach Dawn Plitzuweit's First Season

SHGopher

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Is a success.

She coached the team to an NCAA Tournament appearance, as of January of 2024, despite a very young roster. She's clearly a terrific coach, we've seen the difference. As of yesterday they projected in ESPN bracketology (and other sources) to make the NCAA Tournament, a position they held for weeks. They even made it off the bubble list some weeks.

NCAA Tournament Bound
My projection is they would have made the NCAA Tournament this season.

ESPN Bracketology 2023-24 Season, January 23
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Star Player Injury

Then an injury to a key player Mara Braun in late January took out a key player on a thin roster.




I'm posting this for casual fans who only lightly look at the program and wouldn't know the backstory. Next (wo)man up, fill the void, doesn't apply here. This team is extremely young.

Current Roster

Freshman: 7 (plus 1 more early enrollee -- ESPN top-100 -- who practices but isn't going to play, and the 7 includes another player out for the season with an injury)

Sophomore: 3

Two seasons ago, six players left via the transfer portal. Gophers were down to three returning players, including a freshman who missed the entire season due to brain surgery and a returning freshman who played just a couple minutes due to a vision medical issues. The team restocked with youth.

The bench is like chicks still in the egg shell. They haven't hatched yet. It's not fair to the freshmen to expect them to fill the void caused by the Braun injury -- yet. They deserve time to learn and develop. It's not dissing the players to say they're just freshmen. I'm saying check back on them next season of two.

The starters already have been pressed into playing more minutes than they should even before the Braun injury due to the young depth.

What's going to unfold the rest of the season -- and the final record -- is not a fair reflection of Coach's first season. So don't come back 3 years from now and point to the final record out of context.

Eyes on the Prize

The Gophers absolutely are an NCAA Tournament team right now and next season. Gophers are going to put on a great show.

Coach is a good coach.

Coach Dawn Plitzuweit a Success
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GopherJack

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Coach P is definitely an upgrade at head coach. Sunny skies and bright horizons are ahead for our Lady Gophers!
 

Gopheritnow

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I'm very impressed with Coach P! From what I see, she's designed an offense to fit the players. The defense is steller.
I like coach P, but if you mean designing an offense to fir the platers you are correct.
 

MaxyJR1

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She really seems to be a teacher and probably a good motherlike figure, so I'm interested to see the type of players she looks to recruit going forward. They need to be more athletic for sure, but I've been impressed with the first season of play with such a young group.
 


BigTenGuy

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I'm on the Coach P bandwagon as well, but a little balance is needed to assess the first year.

If you look at Big-Ten only stats before the Braun injury, there are 3 big changes from last year. Pace of play, offensive turnover percentage and offensive rebounding percentage are all materially down from last year. Taking care of the ball is a big deal, and Coach P made the team much better in this regard. The other big changes reflect the good judgments by Coach P that her squad is not built to play fast (Lindsay was wrong about this), and that getting back on defense for her team is more important than O-rebounds (Rose's transfer is also a factor here).

But apart from the offense being better because of fewer turnovers, the offense is pretty static from last year. Before Braun's injury, the Gophers were 12th in conference play in eFG%, which is what they were last year in conference play. On defense, before the Braun injury, the Gophers were 11th in conference play in opponents' eFG%, which is one spot worse than last year. Opponents' turnovers have also increased this year, which reflects her commitment to defense. Defensive rebounding has remained strong this year. Ultimately, even before the Braun injury, there remained a lot of room for improvement, the easier fixes having already been made.

Regarding what would have happened without the Braun injury, there is great uncertainty. The loss at Wisconsin, one of the 2 worst losses by any team in conference play (Illinois losing at home to Wisconsin is the other one), could have been a harbinger of things to come for a team trying to ride 3 starters longer and harder than any other team in the league. Hard to know. With PSU and MSU, among the most improved teams in the league, being double plays for the Gophers, the conference schedule is also ending up a little harder than might have been predicted. Now, with a good coach, still expecting 2-3 wins in conference play.
 

60's Guy

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Coach P is a very good coach. Braun is our best player.
We don't have players on the rest of the roster to win more than a game or two.
The players on the bench who are not playing that have played at some time (if I'm unaware of somebody) are not going to emerge in their careers to help us compete at the top of the conference.
Ayianna Johnson has a lot potential but it seems a good ways away. Big, athletic, strong, yes. Scoring on post entries...a ways off.
Holloway is crazy athletic but same situation. They both don't seem to have basketball awareness.
They do try hard.
Madol could be a wildcard. Maybe she can be somebody who scores.
Dalan, Senden and Klick when healthy I don't believe are counted on to be in the top 7.
McKenna Johnson is 5'9. I have not seen her play but she has to be lightning quick, able to shoot from three, penetrate and dish for assists to be a factor. And she probably is, but for us to be better with what we have right now next year...kinda see her as the only candidate to help?

We need scoring help.
We need better offensive schemes than what we had with Braun healthy to be dangerous.
Defensive improvement is great. Less turnovers is good. But you still gotta score 75, 80, 90 to beat the top teams. Many of them play pretty good defense too so our scoring goes down vs them as well.
Again, Coach P is a very good coach. For us to win we need our top players to stay and we need to add about 3 really good players who can score now, next year, not after a couple years in the program.

Side note with no hidden agenda...anybody notice West Virginia is #23 in the country at 18 and 2.
 

walleye

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I think it is early to judge Coach P's results. She is playing with house money because four of her starters have been holdovers. She maybe gets points for keeping them from jumping ship although they have been vocal about their commitment to Minnesota. Coach P gets points for recruiting GG who is one of the best freshmen in the Big Ten and appears to have a bright future. Her other recruits are either average or too early to judge. Her team has cut down on turnovers because they play a slower pace; i.e., within their ball-handling capabilities. On the other hand, they are not getting many points off turnovers. Her offense is sluggish with too little moving the ball around and getting people open for shots. Her defense is better than last year's, although it has been breaking down before the PSU game. Coach P has been dealt a bad blow losing her best shooter. However, that happens. The question is whether she can find player combinations to compensate. This is a test of her coaching ability.
 

gopherdudepart2

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Coach P is a very good coach. Braun is our best player.
We don't have players on the rest of the roster to win more than a game or two.
The players on the bench who are not playing that have played at some time (if I'm unaware of somebody) are not going to emerge in their careers to help us compete at the top of the conference.
Ayianna Johnson has a lot potential but it seems a good ways away. Big, athletic, strong, yes. Scoring on post entries...a ways off.
Holloway is crazy athletic but same situation. They both don't seem to have basketball awareness.
They do try hard.
Madol could be a wildcard. Maybe she can be somebody who scores.
Dalan, Senden and Klick when healthy I don't believe are counted on to be in the top 7.
McKenna Johnson is 5'9. I have not seen her play but she has to be lightning quick, able to shoot from three, penetrate and dish for assists to be a factor. And she probably is, but for us to be better with what we have right now next year...kinda see her as the only candidate to help?

We need scoring help.
We need better offensive schemes than what we had with Braun healthy to be dangerous.
Defensive improvement is great. Less turnovers is good. But you still gotta score 75, 80, 90 to beat the top teams. Many of them play pretty good defense too so our scoring goes down vs them as well.
Again, Coach P is a very good coach. For us to win we need our top players to stay and we need to add about 3 really good players who can score now, next year, not after a couple years in the program.

Side note with no hidden agenda...anybody notice West Virginia is #23 in the country at 18 and 2.
I would not be too quick to judge Klick not being in top 7. She is very quick, tall for a PG and a good passer. She will be a good defender. Once healed from ACL I think she will be contributor next year. Holloway with more experience will be a beast on the boards both defensive and offensive. Tip drills, she can out work and jump higher than most players. Needs one tip drills and to get her tipping put backs in the basket. She is one of the few that can do that skill.
 



MaxyJR1

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Some may have COVID years left but MN and Rutgers are the only 2 teams with no seniors in the top 5 Minutes on the team. The portal will be interesting for some of these teams this off-season.

Iowa 4 (Currently #3) (1 Seed)
Indiana 4 (#10) (3 Seed)
Illinois 4
Purdue 4
tOSU 3 ( 3 seed)
Penn State 3 (Receiving Votes) (Projected 7 Seed)
Nebraska 3 (Projected 8 seed)
Maryland 3 (Projected 11 seed))
Michigan 2 (Current first teams out Bracketology)
Wisconsin 2
USC 2 (#15) (4 Seed)
MSU 1 (Projected 8 seed)
Northwestern 1
UCLA 1 (#7) (2 Seed)
Oregon 1
Washington 1 (Projected last team in 12 seed)
Rutgers 0
Minnesota 0 (Projected Last 4 in 11 seed)
 

BigTenGuy

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Some may have COVID years left but MN and Rutgers are the only 2 teams with no seniors in the top 5 Minutes on the team. The portal will be interesting for some of these teams this off-season.

Iowa 4 (Currently #3) (1 Seed)
Indiana 4 (#10) (3 Seed)
Illinois 4
Purdue 4
tOSU 3 ( 3 seed)
Penn State 3 (Receiving Votes) (Projected 7 Seed)
Nebraska 3 (Projected 8 seed)
Maryland 3 (Projected 11 seed))
Michigan 2 (Current first teams out Bracketology)
Wisconsin 2
USC 2 (#15) (4 Seed)
MSU 1 (Projected 8 seed)
Northwestern 1
UCLA 1 (#7) (2 Seed)
Oregon 1
Washington 1 (Projected last team in 12 seed)
Rutgers 0
Minnesota 0 (Projected Last 4 in 11 seed)
With Clark likely joining Holmes in exiting, will be quite a transition year for the BIG. IU only has a 12-player roster this year, with 2 commitments for next year, so IU has plenty of room for transfers. Iowa, barring transfers out, is full for next year with its high school commitments, so no room for transfers.

Hoping the legacy BIG schools can step up next year, so UCLA and USC don't mimic Maryland in dominating their first year in the league. The legacy BIG schools appear to have more high-end incoming freshman than normal (e.g. Michigan-Swords and Olson; OSU-Cambridge; Nebraska-Prince), so perhaps that can help.
 
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Gopheritnow

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To me there are 3 clear problems with this team, and not all are fixable. Extremely slow on the front line, albeit good effort. Both point guards are dribble crazy, and when driving to the basket invariably have their head down and see nothing, and very little off the bench. Also a seeming aversion to effectual picking and screening. They set them but you can generally drive an F150 between the screener and the ball handler.
 

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Good first season. If they just marginally improve, they should be in the NCAA Tournament with a chance to win a game.

To make the Sweet 16, they'll need to add a dynamic player from the portal.
 



JellyBean2144

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I think Coach P, in Year One, has done a decent job. The team has responded well to her coaching style and improved on their defense. I am happy with the direction of the program and looking forward to seeing how things progress over the years.
 

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We have had a tough break with Braun. Overall I think we are not quick nor athletic enough. We have no depth and this has been a tough year. No way do I consider this season a success. Hope for better years ahead
 

Aesop70

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This year is tougher to assess with Braun's injury. A very young team with a short bench would find struggles after losing any starter, let alone their primary scorer. Next year should be interesting as experience and depth both improve.
Grocholski and Holloway will both see a jump (mentally and physically) after their first year playing in a fast, physical BIG season. As a freshman starter, GC is starting to hit that freshman wall. If she can be even a little more of a 3-pt threat next year that will take pressure off Braun. Can't double team two players on the perimeter. If M Johnson is the shooter as advertised, 6-8 minutes a game spelling Braun and GC will be meaningful. She's on campus practicing so this isn't unreasonable.
Added depth is crucial. Two types of depth:
Full roster depth (bench players that can regularly spell starters while keeping the team competitive during those minutes in a game). See MJ above and McKinney in defensive situations.
Injury depth (bench players that can step in for an injured starter for a several games and keep the team competitive during those games). Time will tell her who becomes capable.
We should have 10-11 players (maybe more if we can get an experienced portal player/grad transfer) who can provide enough minutes to keep our starters fresh without too much liability.

So next year should show us what Coach P is capable of with a more complete toolbox.
 

Gopher68

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This year is tougher to assess with Braun's injury. A very young team with a short bench would find struggles after losing any starter, let alone their primary scorer. Next year should be interesting as experience and depth both improve.
Grocholski and Holloway will both see a jump (mentally and physically) after their first year playing in a fast, physical BIG season. As a freshman starter, GC is starting to hit that freshman wall. If she can be even a little more of a 3-pt threat next year that will take pressure off Braun. Can't double team two players on the perimeter. If M Johnson is the shooter as advertised, 6-8 minutes a game spelling Braun and GC will be meaningful. She's on campus practicing so this isn't unreasonable.
Added depth is crucial. Two types of depth:
Full roster depth (bench players that can regularly spell starters while keeping the team competitive during those minutes in a game). See MJ above and McKinney in defensive situations.
Injury depth (bench players that can step in for an injured starter for a several games and keep the team competitive during those games). Time will tell her who becomes capable.
We should have 10-11 players (maybe more if we can get an experienced portal player/grad transfer) who can provide enough minutes to keep our starters fresh without too much liability.

So next year should show us what Coach P is capable of with a more complete toolbox.
Kennedy Klick will also add depth to next year's team.
 


#2Gopher

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While I'm disappointed in the way the season has gone. It is not coach P's fault in my opinion. I'm looking forward to the future where in about 2 years we will do some serious damage on the court.
 

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It might be time to consider a PG in the portal. Battle plays good defense, but her offense is lacking, and she's a turnover machine.

Her proper role right now should be a backup PG on a good P6 team.
 

Mnwhiteshoes

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It might be time to consider a PG in the portal. Battle plays good defense, but her offense is lacking, and she's a turnover machine.

Her proper role right now should be a backup PG on a good P6 team.
I think that Battle would make a good 6th/7th player off the bench.
Yes we need a quality point guard that can score/shoot & beat a press!
 

bball_craz_31

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It might be time to consider a PG in the portal. Battle plays good defense, but her offense is lacking, and she's a turnover machine.

Her proper role right now should be a backup PG on a good P6 team.
Mmmmm she was a good enough PG when the team was 14-4.
 
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Gopheritnow

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Our PG: dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble!

The rest of the team: Stand around wondering what’s gonna happen next? Turnover, or blown layup?
 


bball_craz_31

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A good PG should still be good even without her normal #2 guard.
Was good enough to hit the game winning free-throws against Purdue and hit the game-clinching 3 against Nebraska.

Once again.... no wonder players leave here. The fans and the star tribune reporter are all simply piss ants who do nothing but bitch and moan and trash the players....from their couch and history of never coaching.
 
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blkroll

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Was good enough to hit the game winning free-throws against Purdue and hit the game-clinching 3 against Nebraska.

Once again.... no wonder players leave here. The fans and the star tribune reporter are all simply piss ants who do nothing but bitch and moan and trash the players....from their couch and history of never coaching.
So what’s your explanation for how she has regressed turnover-wise?
 

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Was good enough to hit the game winning free-throws against Purdue and hit the game-clinching 3 against Nebraska.

Once again.... no wonder players leave here. The fans and the star tribune reporter are all simply piss ants who do nothing but bitch and moan and trash the players....from their couch and history of never coaching.
No one is running her off of the team. But it's fair to say she's not performing up to the standards required for our expectation level of winning. She's a 6th woman off the bench. She's not a starter. That doesn't she can't be, but at this point, she's simply not there. It's fair to question if they'd be better served by recruiting over here and moving her to the pine.
 

Gopheritnow

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Was good enough to hit the game winning free-throws against Purdue and hit the game-clinching 3 against Nebraska.

Once again.... no wonder players leave here. The fans and the star tribune reporter are all simply piss ants who do nothing but bitch and moan and trash the players....from their couch and history of never coaching.
Whether we like it or not that player is not currently on the court! Braun sucked a lot of the defensive oxygen out of the room when she was on the floor. Now that she isn’t, every Gopher player got moved up a notch on the defensive list, and it ain’t turning out well. one seriously cannot watch either of our PG’s as they are currently playing and consider them effective.

Not much dissimilar to Hawkins on men’s team early in the year. But he transitioned his game, has cut down on the turnovers and hero ball, and has distributed nicely. If he hadn’t, the men would not be competitive in every game. Win every game? Nope. But have the chance to. Something the women since Brauns absence arent doing.
 

bball_craz_31

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So what’s your explanation for how she has regressed turnover-wise?
Has she regressed? Let's look at the stats.

Freshman year: 30 total games
863:04 Minutes for 28.8 per game.
133 Assists/4.43 Per game
114 Turnovers/3.80 per game

Sophomore year: 27 games (3 more to go)
838.07 Minutes for 31.0 per game
153 Assists for 5.67 per game
103 Turnovers/3.81 per game

Also let's look beyond turnovers. Kennedy Klick was supposed to her backup and injured before the year. I won't say that Sanders is helpful because this team struggles the INSTANT Amaya goes off the court. Track it sometime since you "fans" know everything. She literally at times can't get 30 seconds to a full minute off the court without sanders turning it over 2-3 times.

She is making less high risk passes this year as an attempt to cut down on turnovers. Meaning tho at times misses openings out of not wanting to turn it over which has also led to over dribbling. It also doesn't help that there are times she is dribbling and 4 teammates starring at her not moving. What is she supposed to do?

She is without Braun, Klick who would help handle and then Sanders can't give her relief for even a minute.
 
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