Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →
Spotlight on the Gophers 100
By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman center Amanda Zahui B.
After sitting out last season after arriving at the University of Minnesota, one might think homesickness could be a common reoccurrence for Swedish-born Amanda Zahui B. But she says it’s not so: “I’ve been by myself since I was 15. I’m used to being away from my family,” the 6’-5” redshirt freshman center tells us. Despite her Patti Labelle declaration of being on her own, Zahui still misses her family. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
LaShay Holt and Annessa Hicks played together for one year at St. Paul Humboldt High School. Holt was a freshman and Hicks was a senior. Their prep careers almost mirror each other: Both finished their high-school careers as 1,000-point scorers and were named the St. Paul City Conference MVP in their respective senior seasons. Continue Reading →
Monday was a special day a day of celebration for the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. Since 1978, I have covered sports with great distinction in this town, and days like Monday are rare indeed, the community coming together to celebrate being number one. It does not happen often; winning is easier said than done. The Twins, led by the late Kirby Puckett, brought home championships in 1987 and 1991, and the Lynx in 2011 won it all the first time. As they say, that’s all folks. Continue Reading →
Monday’s Minnesota Lynx championship celebration looked more like a bon voyage send-off, especially given that every player soon will leave for off-season overseas jobs. “It’s awesome having our fans out here and be able to say good-bye to them,” said Lynx guard Monica Wright, who heads to South Korea by month’s end.
Added Israel-bound rookie Sugar Rodgers of her first overseas assignment, “I’m going down to take care of a little business, to see my family before I head out.”
“It’s a long off season, and I will miss this group,” noted Maya Moore, who will play again in China. Mounds of confetti became a temporary asphalt blanket on Monday as the procession that carried the 2013 WNBA Champions Lynx moved slowly along Nicollet Avenue, with adoring fans providing escort as they made their way to their downtown Minneapolis basketball home. There, inside, a large crowd impatiently awaited the arrival of the only local pro team that boasts a championship trophy these days. Continue Reading →
Photos from Dribble to Stop Diabetes clinic during the WNBA Finals in Minneapolis
Current Minnesota Lynx players and WNBA Legend Teresa Edwards worked with students from Sojourner Truth Academy. [nggallery id=55]
Photos by Charles Hallman Continue Reading →
The 2013 WNBA season opened last weekend in Dickensian fashion — great expectations. “I think this is the most anticipated season for me,” proclaims ESPN analyst and former WNBA coach/general manager Carolyn Peck. SB Nation’s Nate Parham analyzed each W club, in 25 words or less, by conference, beginning with the East:
[New coach Mike Thibault] “will make a huge difference” in Washington, but unresolved ball-handling issues may prove too much. Atlanta still is Angel McCoughtry’s team, but point guard might be a problem. This year’s second overall pick, Elena Delle Donne, will help Chicago, but can the Sky overcome the early absence of star guard Epiphanny Prince, who contractually must play in Russia in June? Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The Big Ten for several seasons has assembled 16-game regular-season schedules in which each team has six single-game opponents each year. Minnesota, for example, only plays Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern once each this season. Now that the conference has 12 teams, one would think a return to a round-robin league schedule — each Big Ten squad plays its opponent twice (once home and once away) — is in the near future. The MSR last week asked Indiana Coach Felisha Legette-Jack if it’s time to do away with the league’s “One Plays” format.
“I’m totally optimistic that they [conference schedulers] are going to get it right this time,” she opined after her Hoosiers completed their one-game slate with the Gophers, losing 84-43 to the hosts.
Colorful present and past
Overall there have been 23 Black head basketball coaches in the Big Ten, 13 males and 10 females. Continue Reading →