Exhibition: Gophers Host Minnesota Crookston (10-31-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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The Exhibition Makes a Comeback, As Do the Fans

Minnesota last began a season with an exhibition game. in 2013. Yes, that was Pam Borton’s final season and Amanda Zahui B’s first. Pam so liked exhibition games that she scheduled two that year. In the first, the Gophers routed Winona State 82-44 and in the second, defeated Minnesota State Morehead 69-54. Zahui B’s 28 point and 19 rebound stat stuffer versus Winona was a worthy introduction to the future All-American. Which I guess is sort of the point of exhibitions. However, as a team, Minnesota finished the season 8-8 in the B1G followed by a third round WNIT loss to South Dakota at Williams Arena. Pam was promptly replaced by Marlene Stollings who disliked exhibition games even more than playing defense.

So, to find the last time Sunday’s opponent, the University of Minnesota Crookston, played the Gophers we must travel back to 2011. That’s when the Golden Eagles journeyed to Williams Arena to be Gopher fodder in an 90-58 loss. Leah Cotton led Minnesota with 16 points and 3 assists. That Gopher team finished 4-12 in the B1G and 12-18 overall.

In 2011, Minnesota Crookston was coached by Mike Roysland. They still are. Roysland, Kelly’s father, is beginning his 16th season in Crookston. According to his bio, he is the winningest Golden Eagle Division II coach for all sports with 131 wins. He also has 267 losses which is probably the flip side of that record.

Last season, the Golden Eagles were 3-11 in the Northern Sun Conference North Division. No, they weren’t the worst team in the league. That honor went to 0-14 Upper Iowa in the South Division. It appears that the Golden Eagles return their leading scorers and starters. I’ve listed the probable starters below. Anyway, most of us are anxious to watch the Gophers live for the first time in over a year and a half. Watching games on TV just isn’t the same. Perhaps we’ll picture another future All American in this exhibition.

Probable Golden Eagle Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’9”GSoJes Mertens31.110.34.6
6’3”CRJrBren Fox21.110.15.5
5’7”GSrKylie Post28.79.34.0
5’11”FSrMary Burke28.29.02.4
5’10”GJrEmma Carpenter28.87.01.6
 

thatjanelpick

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Thanks for this, and especially for the projected starters. Surprising to see Crookston will match up with the Gophers just fine, height-wise (if not, I assume, in most other areas). Can't wait.
 

fanfromthevalley

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And, this exhibition game is general admission - no tickets required. If you haven't already, download the Gopher app as that is where your tickets will be for all the other games. This site has a good tutorial:


You can also call the ticket office for help.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I know I gave the Golden Eagle players short shrift; so here's a little on Jess Mertens.

University of Minnesota Crookston women’s basketball player Jes Mertens (Fr., Devils Lake, N.D.) was named to the NSIC North Division All-Defensive Team and the NSIC North Division All-Freshman Team.

Mertens had an outstanding freshman season as she averaged 10.3 points, grabbed 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game. Mertens wasn’t only one of the top defensive players in the conference, but she was also one of the top in the country. She currently ranks seventh in NCAA Division II in steals with 50. Mertens is eighth nationally in steals per game.

Mertens is the first Golden Eagle to earn All-NSIC recognition since Isieoma Odor was named All-NSIC First Team during the 2018-19 season. Mertens is the 18th player in program history to earn All-NSIC recognition. Mertens finished the season shooting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.5 percent from the foul line. Mertens had a season-high 21 points versus the University of Minnesota Duluth on February 6. She also had a school-record seven steals on January 15 versus Northern State University.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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In the Northern Sun Pre season Coaches poll Minnesota Crookston is tied for 15th overall with Minot State. In the North Division the Golden Eagles are tied for 7th with Minot State. UMD is projected as the best team in the league and in the North Division. Augustana is the projected South Division winner.

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Duluth was selected by the league coaches as the overall and north division preseason favorite in the NSIC for the 2021-22 season. The Bulldogs received 12 first place votes and amassed 222 points. St. Cloud State received a first place vote to rank second with 203 points while Augustana was third with 187 points and two place votes. The Vikings were the coaches’ choice to win the south division. Minnesota State was fourth with 168 points while Sioux Falls rounded out the top five with 159 points and the final first place vote.

NSIC coaches rank each team in the NSIC in the overall poll and teams from their division in the divisional poll. In the overall poll coaches rank from 1 to 15 with a first place vote receiving 15 points, second place 14, third place 13, etc. Coaches do not rank their own team or vote for their own players.

The regular season champion will be based on the 22-game NSIC schedule. Each team will play teams in their division twice (14) and teams in the other division once (8). An NSIC North and South Division Champion will also be awarded. Divisional standings will also be based on all 22 NSIC contests played. In the case of a tie, co-champions will be awarded. The 12-team NSIC / Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championships are set to take place February 26 to March 1 at the Sanford Health Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. The top two seeds in each division will receive a first round bye. First round games will be played on campus on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

The 2021-22 women’s basketball season gets underway on Friday, November 5 with the University of Mary and Minot State playing in the D2CCA Tipoff Classic in Billings, Montana, the rest of the league begins Friday, Nov. 12 while conference action begins on Tuesday, November 23
 


thatjanelpick

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And, this exhibition game is general admission - no tickets required. If you haven't already, download the Gopher app as that is where your tickets will be for all the other games. This site has a good tutorial:


You can also call the ticket office for help.
...and if you don't want to go through the e-ticket rigamarole, they will print them for you.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Minnesota (0-0, 0-0 B1G) inches closer to the start of its 51st season of play with an exhibition against Minnesota Crookston on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm at Williams Arena. The game will be available to view online on BTN+ and can be heard on Minnesota Crookston's radio broadcast on KROX Radio.

ABOUT THIS GAME
  • The Gophers are under the tutelage of head coach Lindsay Whalen who enters her fourth season as the head coach.
  • The last time the Gophers were seen playing was 235 days ago when Minnesota competed in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament.
  • The last time the Gophers hosted an exhibition game at Williams Arena was on Oct. 29, 2013, when the Golden Gophers defeated Winona State 82-44. That game included Gopher legends Amanda Zahui B. and Rachel Banham with Zahui B scoring 28 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and swatting away four shots in the 38-point win.
  • The matchup with Minnesota-Crookston is the first between the two teams.

GOPHER NOTABLES
  • Last season Jasmine Powell was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the league's coaches and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the media covering the conference. Meanwhile, Sara Scalia was chosen Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media. In addition, redshirt senior Gadiva Hubbard was tabbed as the school's Sportsmanship Award representative.
  • This season Minnesota returns 12 letterwinners from last year's squad including all five starters from the last game of the season. The Golden Gophers return all 105 starts from last year's team and only lose one student-athlete from last year's roster. Jasmine Powell (14.5 PPG, 4.6 APG), Sara Scalia (14.5 PPG) and Kadi Sissoko (12.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG) all return and will help Minnesota be one of the most dangerous offenses in the Big Ten this season.
  • Minnesota faces one of the toughest schedules in the country with up to 13 NCAA Tournament teams from last season on the schedule and Minnesota's opponent win percentage (.582 in 2020-21) is the highest among any other schedule in the Big Ten.
  • Sunday's game at Williams Arena will be the first time a student-athlete will wear No. 13 in front of a crowd since head coach Lindsay Whalen in 2004. Gadiva Hubbard takes over the number this season after wearing No. 34 for her first five seasons in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota welcomes two freshmen along with a pair of graduate transfers to this year's roster in Alanna Micheaux, Maggie Czinano, Deja Winters and Bailey Helgren.

BY THE NUMBERS
12 -
The Gophers bring back 12 student-athletes from last year's roster with all five of last year's starters from the last game of the season returning.
105 - Minnesota brings back all 105 starts from last year's roster that finished 8-13 overall
2 - Jasmine Powell (Second Team/Honorable Mention) and Sara Scalia (Honorable Mention) return for the Golden Gophers after the two of them earned All-Big Ten honors last season
16 - Scalia returns with a streak of at least one 3-pointer made in all 16 games she played last season, including 12 games with at least two made
6 - Six members of the 2021-22 roster hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes with newcomers Bailey Helgren (Edina, Minn.) and Maggie Czinano adding to that total this season
14 - The Gophers have 14 student-athletes on the 2021-22 roster that were ranked at least a three-star prospect by ESPN with two being five-star recruits and four being four-star recruits

The 51st season for the Golden Gophers gets underway on Nov. 9, with a home contest against Jacksonville. Fans can guarantee their seats to all of the team's home games by purchasing season tickets on GopherSports.com.

For more information on the Gophers, continue to check back with GopherSports.com. Keep up with the University of Minnesota women's basketball on Twitter and Instagram (@GopherWBB) and on Facebook, so you do not miss any content during the 2021-22 season.
 

adamj95

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Nice start for Kadi, 7 points and 2 rebounds.
 

whalenfan

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I know its just a d2 team but the effort level on defense is much better so far. Looks like LBK, Czinano and Borowicz not available today.
 




adamj95

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Micheaux is playing, i would guess that means she won’t be redshirted?
 


Ignatius L Hoops

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Sissoko 15 minutes and 5-6 from the field. So far it's Sissoko driving and Scalia, Hubbard and Powell shooting threes. (Actullay, Scalia and Powell are taking to the lane, too). Anyway, the offense looks organized when Sissoko is in.

But,we don't appear to have a mobile sub for Sissoko.
 




blkroll

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Looks like we might need to work on finishing at the rim.
 





GringaGopher

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I'd rather have it be crowded than the depleted bench we had at various times in the past 2 years. The hard part might be to find meaningful minutes for many of them.
 

Gophers112233

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Sissoko has learned how to do that move she always does without traveling so that's good to see.. she is so QUICK with that move too..

Winters played good defense.. she is quicker then she looks and has some quick hands too, got her hands on a lot of passes.. her shot is SO smooth too.

Jaz looks like she has slowed down and isn't all over the place..

Smith still hasn't impressed me much with her offensive skills.. her defense is there.. we need her to be aggressive on offense.. she passed up a couple easy lay ups for passes AGAIN..
 

Gopher68

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I could be very wrong but I thought Exhibitions don't count toward eligibility.
Not sure the requirements for redshirt have changed. But, in the past you could play up to 1/3 (I think) of the championship games and still redshirt. That was the case when Banham went down. Exhibition games do not count.
 

bball_craz_26

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Thoughts after the game today:

-While the team has 16 players, I would expect around a 9-player rotation consistently.

-Starters I would assume is the same as today (Sconiers, Sissoko, Hubbard, Scalia and Powell) However if I'm Sconiers I dont feel super comfortable that I have that center position locked up.

-Hedman and Cumming likely see little to no minutes in the regular season.

-While I understand this was an exhibition against a pretty weak team, the defense (especially from the guards) seemed improved. They pounced on any weak pass, got in the passing lanes quickly and looked to get out on the break in a hurry. It would appear with the center position still not super reliable, the goal is to take away vision to passers or get the ball before it can get into the paint.

-The big four (Powell, Scalia, Diva, Kadi) will be relied HEAVILY for scoring this year. They are very capable of carrying that burden but its a lot to ask night in and night out.

-The Center position is truly up for grabs. Sconiers had good fight for rebounds, got some nice blocks without swinging down, and seemed to keep her cool under the basket. Bailey is bigger and more mobile than I expected but also did not offer much in the way of offense. Mershon had a fantastic motor fighting for rebounds or playing defense but once again didn't offer much offensively. Micheaux physically looks like the strongest post player the team has. Only issue is it seemed that every time she touched the ball, she did a hop or skip or a jump leading to a travel. IF one of these four could start to own this position on both ends of the floor, that would be huge for this team.

-Smith and Strande seem to have the opposite problem of each other. Smith seems to pass up good shots at times, especially close still even coming into second year. Strande has not seemed to see a shot she doesn't like. While I applaud the confidence, I would suggest not taking the first shot she can when she sees the rim. Both played with good energy and effort today and are probably in competition for the second guard off the bench after Winters.

-With Czinano, Borowicz and LBK in street clothes today, its hard to know what the plan could be or will be going forward this year.
 


tripledouble

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Good recap, bball. A couple of additional thoughts. Like most of us, I hadn't seen Deja play before. Her game is intriguing, as she is active and versatile. Again, it's tough to say if she'll be able to do this against tougher competition, but it would be great if she can. I think I might be a bit higher on Sconiers than you are. I'm thinking that she'll get close to 25 minutes a game at the post, if she can stay out of foul trouble, which was sometimes a problem last year. In my opinion, she continues to build confidence in her game. That being said, it will be nice to have the different backups available, Love the energy that Mershon brings off the bench.
 

Gophers112233

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54 rebounds ---> 17 from our starting guards .. Also JP can sky for rebounds she gets way up there for them..

triplerouble I agree about Winters I'm really intrigued by her play specially against stronger teams.. but seeing her play for the first time today.. she impressed me.. played the passing lines got a lot of deflections and her shot is pretty smooth, and looks like she can handle the ball if needed..
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Misc. Note: Deja Winters previously played at Williams Arena in the 2016-17 season. She came off the bench for Seton Hall scoring 10 points in 26 minutes. Deja was 3-9 from behind the arc.
 

ISUnorth

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Micheaux is playing, i would guess that means she won’t be redshirted?

Exhibitions don't count. There is talk of allowing freshman 6-8 games regular season games (and than to redshirt without an injury cause), something like the four games allowed freshman for football. But it's just a proposal, maybe for 2021-22 season.
 

samloupete

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Sometimes I think we get caught up on the ranking of players when they are recruited. Smith, for example, was rated much higher than her current talent would warrant. She hasn’t shown much. 0-7 shooting against a D2 school is highly unimpressive. Borowicz should be the 2nd guard off the bench behind Winters. Overall a decent effort by the team, however.
 

Ragnor

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Micheaux looked athletic and aggressive which was good to see. She did have a bad habit of receiving the ball in the post doing a little hop before dribbling so she was called for traveling between 4-6 times. It appeared to me she could have been called for it one other time too but it was a smaller hope and there is a chance one of her feet didn't fully come off the floor from perspective. She will really need to eliminate this quirk in practice, I wonder if the coaches didn't notice this in practice or it is a nervous quirk that is only occuring in games.
 




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