welcome to golden gopher basketball
SEASON PREVIEW Tradition. It’s the goal of every team from the very first dribble of the basketball in the first practice to the final jump shot of the final game, and beyond. Programs with impressive traditions have perfected more than the fundamentals of the hardwood. These programs understand the importance of momentum. Momentum is the very cornerstone upon which successful traditions are built. Watch any game and the role of momentum is obvious. Teams that find a successful trend are usually the ones walking off the court with the win. Carry that trend from game to game and a dream season could be in the making. Find the recipe of extending that ingredient called momentum from season to season and it’s the very makings of tradition. Minnesota enjoys a rich tradition. The Golden Gophers have made seven trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last eight seasons. Twenty-win seasons, accomplished in
the 2008-09 campaign and four others during the Pam Borton era, are the expected norm. The 2009-10 Gophers carry a swagger into the season. This swagger is a confidence gathered from a huge conquest that resulted in garnering victory in hostile opposing territory. Each and every Minnesota player, from the fifth-year seniors to the incoming freshmen, have captured the element of momentum from the Gophers’ impressive NCAA win at Notre Dame a year ago. They have nurtured that momentum, fueling the tide with plenty of dedication and hard work. With the reward of playing in the NCAA Tournament on their home court in Williams Arena as the prize, this season’s edition of the Golden Gopher women’s basketball team intends to carry this banner of momentum into the heat of battle. They expect success. These Gophers expect to make their mark on the tradition that is Minnesota basketball. “Our mindset started with that win at Notre Dame last season, “ said Golden Gopher head coach Pam Borton. “To be able to win a huge game on the road in a hostile environment and overcome not being expected to win, our team’s mindset is much different than it was a year ago. They are hungry. This team knows what it takes to get to the NCAA Tournament and to win now. It’s important that every player who has played for us over the past seven years has graduated having won an NCAA Tournament game.” Strong leadership is the necessary adhesive to stretching season-ending momentum through summer workouts, intense sessions of muscle-strengthening weightlifting and off-season pick-up games into the always optimistic start of a new season. The Gophers have three senior captains in Ashley Ellis-Milan, Katie Ohm and Brittany McCoy who are proven leaders. Ellis-Milan and Ohm are in their fifth season in the program. McCoy has started every single game since walking onto the raised court of The Barn. “This team has the intangibles,” said Borton. “The chemistry of this team will continue to grow as we start the season, but off the court we already see a great bond among the players. The leadership we have in our captains Ashley, Brittany and Katie, and another senior, Zoe Harper, is crucial to our success. After our seniors, the next most experienced players we have are only sophomores. Leadership is so important.” Minnesota enters the 2009-10 season with an experienced corps of 10 letterwinners with four returning starters among them. While a large senior class leads the way, the Gophers will also look to a sophomore class that saw plenty of playing time a year ago and another exciting
group of newcomers to play important roles this season. “We have a great, solid nucleus,” added Borton. “Bringing the younger players along as the season goes on will make us a deeper and stronger team as we work our way through the schedule.” The Gophers return their entire crew of frontcourt players from last season. The charges are led by Ellis-Milan, a 6-2 forward/center. Ellis-Milan is a four-year starter in the low post and enjoyed her finest season in 2008-09, after which she was accorded Gophers’ most valuable player and All-Big Ten honors. Ellis-Milan, who averaged 11.9 points a game during her junior season, is just two points from becoming the 19th 1,000-point career scorer in Minnesota history. Perhaps a bigger tribute to her consistent performance throughout her career is her bid to become just the third player (Linda Roberts, Janel McCarville) to lead the Gophers in rebounding for four straight years. The trio of Ellis-Milan, Zoe Harper and Jackie Voigt combined to play over 95 percent of the minutes in the frontcourt in 2008-09.
2009-10 Team Captains with Coach Borton Zoe Harper 5 * Minnesota Basketball