Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Side Passion - U of M Women's Basketball 

Tonight we watched the U of M Women's Basketball (WBB) play in the first round of the Women's NIT tournament. We became fans four seasons ago in the heydays of the greatest player to come through the program, Lindsay Whalen.

Under coach Pam Borton, the UM WBB made it to the NCAA dance each of the last five seasons. This year was an unknown - the team lost 11 players last spring. One senior, Kelly Roysland, returned. Two freshmen were starters. We figured this year would be a growth year, see what happens, maybe return next year, etc.

Well, let me tell you - the team has outperformed our expectations, the freshmen are terrific! Though they didn't make the NCAA, they did make the WNIT and tonight, they looked very good. They put it all together, a 97-54 victory over Illinois-Chicago. Five players, including two freshmen scored in double figures. Play was balanced.

Because we don't know a number of the teams in the WNIT, each game is partially unknown. There are four Big 10 teams (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin) in the tournament. Next game is Monday, March 19 at Western Kentucky. One game at a time but this could become a fun ride and great experience for the young squad.

Go Gophers!