Gophers

Recent Articles

One Black coach, a few Black players reach NCAA women’s volleyball playoffs

 

 

 

Each of the four teams that played in the NCAA first- and second-round volleyball matches hosted last weekend by the University of Minnesota had at least one player of color: Cheyanne James (Radford), Alexis Austin (Colorado), Victoria Hurtt and Erin Taylor (Iowa State), and two Puerto Rico-born players: Iowa State’s Neira Ortiz Ruiz and the Gophers’ Daly Santana. James was second on her squad in kills — one of a school-record five players receiving all-conference honors. Hurtt thrice led Iowa State with 20-plus kills. Colorado Coach Liz Kritza called the sophomore Austin “team-oriented.”

While seeing a low single-digit number of players of color at a volleyball match, even a post-season match, wasn’t that surprising, discovering that one of the schools was coached by a Black female was a surprise, especially since, unlike the other three schools, her photo was not included in her school’s pre-game notes. Marci Jenkins last weekend completed her sixth season at Radford (Va.) University, which won the Big South conference this year. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Record win streak ends for Gopher women’s hockey

 

 

 

Now that “The Streak” is snapped, will it be truly recognized as a historic feat?  Minnesota’s 62-game women’s hockey win streak ended with a 3-2 loss Sunday against North Dakota. The Gophers hadn’t lost a game since February 17, 2012, when they also lost at home in a 2-1 overtime defeat to North Dakota. This reporter vividly remembers when the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 90 games in a row over a three-year period (2008-10) and too many mainstream sports know-it-alls dismissed it as only women rather than correctly placing the streak two games better than UCLA’s 88-win streak (1971-74). The UConn’s streak didn’t need an asterisk, and neither should Minnesota. North Dakota Coach Brian Idalski told the MSR Sunday after his team’s one-goal victory to salvage a split in the two-game weekend series, “It [the streak] was a pretty special thing not only for Minnesota but for all women’s hockey. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Gophers rise up, beat Nebraska

The best football in town easily is being played on the campus of the University of Minnesota. I was at TCF Saturday to witness the 54th meeting between the Cornhuskers of Nebraska and the Gophers. After 16 straight losses dating back to 1963, the Gophers rallied from a 10-0 deficit and won their second straight game in the Big Ten 34-23, beating 25th-ranked Nebraska for the first time since 1960. Nebraska travels with a large following,

and it was clear that TCF Stadium had at least 15-20,000 Nebraska fans in the house. The Gophers’ success helped keep the Cornhusker fans quiet. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Conference shuffle the big news for U-M men’s hockey

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Big Ten league promises much — will it deliver?  

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

College sports in recent years have seen conferences either expand or implode both in football and basketball. Now it’s trickled down to men’s hockey. In what organizers called “an unprecedented day of college hockey discussions in the Twin Cities,” last week the two newest men’s hockey conferences held their respective media days September 19. “We’re ready to go in a new season and a new conference,” proclaimed U-M Coach Don Lucia in St. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

A father’s investment pays off

Recruitment for college volleyball does not come cheap
 
All four volleyball teams at the September 6-7 early season tournament at the Sports Pavilion each had exactly one player of color: Daly Santana (Minnesota), Marquita Marshall (Ball State), Melanie Miller (Western Illinois) and Jeme Obeime (Duke). When asked why college volleyball — at least the teams that play the Gophers or, for that matter, the Gophers themselves — still lacks diversity, U of M Coach Hugh McCutcheon

responded, “I really can’t answer that. I do know that USA Volleyball is committed to trying to grow the game.”

My best estimate over my years covering Minnesota volleyball is that I probably can use at least four hands to accurately count the number of Black female volleyball players in Minnesota uniforms. “We are recruiting the best players we can, and that’s it,” stated McCutcheon. “More diversity is a real important part of our development. There’s no question that some of the best athletes are people of color.”

Unfortunately, in this second decade of the 21st Century, volleyball, instead of attracting more Blacks, seems to be repellent when it comes to urban females: It seemingly still reeks with country club residue. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Does it really matter? — Athletes’ sexual orientation none of our business

 

 

Two weeks ago we learned that the WNBA’s top overall pick is gay. Last week we learned that a longtime NBA veteran center is gay. Neither news item bothered me at all. However, what does bother me is what convinced Britney Griner to tell a reporter that she’s out of the closet and why it matters. Ditto for what convinced Jason Collins to exclusively speak about his sexuality to Sports Illustrated. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Norwood Teague fires Tubby Smith!

Gophers fire a great coach rather than build a great team
 
 

I understand why Tubby Smith was fired after six seasons, 121 wins, 81 losses and three NCAA appearances. After playing the toughest schedule in the nation, he fired up the Minnesota fan base for Gopher hoops. After a 15-1 start and reaching number eight in the polls, expectations went through the roof and became unrealistic. Tubby said this was his best team, and he was right, with wins over nationally ranked Michigan State, Illinois, Memphis and Wisconsin, the incredible court-rushing experience of beating number one Indiana at Williams Arena. His Gophers even beat one of the top five NCAA programs of all-time, UCLA, 83-63, the Pac 12 Champions in the NCAA tournament; and they finished 21-13 after a second-round loss to No.3 Florida. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Finally, parity in men’s college hoops

 

 

 

Can we say with all surety that parity was finally achieved this year in men’s college basketball? KFAN’s Henry Lake (HL) and Robert Littal (RL) of BlackSportsOnline recently shared their thoughts on this and this year’s cliché-filled NCAA tournament already in progress. (Please note: Lake and Littal’s comments were made prior to Sunday’s tournament selections.)

View: Was there indeed parity this season? HL: There always will be premier schools, but what I think is different this year is that some of those teams that we always penciled in as top seeds in the tournament essentially have taken a step back, [and] other teams have taken a step forward. I am not surprised that there is parity. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Gophers WBB falls again

 

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — In a few days, Penn State and several other Big Ten women’s hoop squads will learn where their March playing schedule takes them next. But unlike the regular season champions, the Lady Lions, who are assured their spot, the Gophers aren’t sure of theirs. “We just let the basketball gods figure it out,” admitted U of M Coach Pam Borton last Thursday after her team’s nine-point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney’s first round as she referred to the NCAA selection committee. “It’s out of our hands,” added Ohio State senior guard Tayler Hill of her Buckeyes’ chances. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Heat set franchise record

 

 

Suddenly there’s no stopping the World Champion Miami Heat. Being around this group after they dismantled the under-manned Minnesota Timberwolves 97-81, it’s apparent their main objective Monday night at Target Center before 18,391 fans was to win and not get trapped in a snowstorm. “We saw the forecast,” said Dwyane Wade, who scored a game-high 32 points and 10 assists. “We heard it might be coming.”

The defending NBA Champions did not play their best game, with 23 turnovers; but with the Timberwolves’ injury issues, having three starters out, the Heat had to be ready for a fight. A frustrated J.J. Barea, who was just one of 11 from the field, finally lost his cool in the fourth quarter. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,