Recent Articles

A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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A lot of planning goes into sports tournaments







The inaugural Big Ten men’s hockey tournament held last week in St. Paul provided many inaugural moments, surprises and disappointments, not unlike other post-season events. All but one of the five tournament games were decided by a goal, including last Saturday’s inaugural championship game, won 5-4 by Wisconsin. The first two contests went to overtime as well as the title game. Only

Minnesota’s 3-1 loss to eventual tourney runners-up Ohio State had a wider winning margin. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins



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 →

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Gopher senior leaves the team like she played: with a big smile




Her coach and this reporter both watched Leah Cotton’s growth over her four years at Minnesota from a happy-go-lucky freshman to a fully confident young woman in her senior year. “It’s fun to watch her grow as a person, and it’s been really rewarding to see where she’s come from,” noted Gopher Coach Pam Borton last week. It wasn’t always pretty watching Cotton, however — she had a penchant for making silly fouls. She sometimes got her foot stuck on her energy accelerator. Yet you never saw the 5-8 senior guard from Kansas City, Kansas back down from her challenges. Continue Reading →

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