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WNBA rookies learn the ropes

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Wearing a visitors’ uniform in her hometown is nothing new for Tayler Hill. Although she wore the Washington Mystics’ red road colors in the August 8 game against Minnesota, the host crowd warmly greeted the Minneapolis South and Ohio State graduate as she entered the contest near the three-minute mark left in the opening quarter. “The [Minnesota] fans never boo me,” says Hill. “I’ve always have been on opposite teams, and they still support me.”

The last time she talked with the MSR was a few hours after the Mystics selected her with their top pick (fourth overall) back in April. “We joked about it that she was the first draft of the other draft,” says Mystics Coach Mike Thibault on the Hill selection after the top three overall picks. Continue Reading →

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Tayler Hill moves on up to the big time

 

 

 

Tayler Hill soon will earn her human economy degree from Ohio State. A few weeks ago, she went on a few interviews and last week got her first job offer. “I never have been on a job interview, so I’m not sure exactly how that works,” admitted the Minneapolis native before interviewing for and accepting her first job as a professional basketball player. The Washington Mystics selected her as their first-round pick in this year’s WNBA draft, and she starts her post-college job in May. Hill briefly explained the interview process, which for a WNBA prospect is a lot different than NFL and NBA potential draftees: no 40-yard timings or individual workouts beforehand. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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Gopher women look strong going into 2013 Big 10 conference play

 

All 12 Big Ten women’s basketball squads begin conference play this week with a winning record. Minnesota (11-3) plays at Michigan State Thursday in East Lansing, then at Wisconsin next Sunday. Gopher Coach Pam Borton told the MSR after her squad’s double-overtime win over Creighton that she believes her squad’s non-conference schedule has readied them for what is to come. “I think we’re prepared,” she pointed out. “We’ve played a wide range of teams. We’ve seen a lot of different types of defenses and offenses, a lot of different styles. Continue Reading →

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Metro prep stars grow up to become college winners

 

I took it easy this past week and watched five former metro-area prep basketball players help their college teams to key victories. Check this out! Sophomore center ROYCE WHITE (Hopkins), Mr. Basketball in 2009, had 18 points and nine rebounds in leading Iowa State to a 73-64 upset of fifth-ranked Kansas. Freshmen sensation RACHEL BANHAM (Lakeville North), named Miss Basketball in 2011, led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team with 20 points in a 76-65 win over number-nine Ohio State. Senior guard KIARA BUFORD (St. Continue Reading →

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Time to dispense with the ‘One Plays’?

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

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 →

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Three-point review of Gophers men’s and women’s basketball

 

 
 
By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer
 
A seven-game review of Minnesota women’s basketball at this point of the season yields the following three points:
First point: Billed before the season as the missing piece, Rachel Banham thus far seemingly has made a smoother transition as freshman starting point guard than her male counterpart Andre Hollins (more on him later). “I think she’s doing a great job getting a feel of things, and she’s playing a lot of minutes. She’s really pushing tempo and keeping our team playing fast,” surmises Coach Pam Borton. Second point: Will junior Leah Cotton ever play “unplugged”? Yes, she makes mistakes (i.e., silly fouls), but often makes up for it with hustle and ball hawking on defense. Continue Reading →

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