GOPHERS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL GAMEDAY
Gophers vs. Long Island University: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena
Streaming; radio: BTN-plus, 96.7-FM
Pregame reading: Get to know new Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit, starting with her upbringing in Wisconsin through her playing days and successful coaching career.
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Kent Youngblood’s preview:
Opening bell: It’s the opening game of the Plitzweit era. The Gophers will field a starting five that is both young (three sophomores, a freshman and a junior) and experienced (with Mara Braun, Mallory Heyer and Amaya Battle all having played extensively as freshmen last season). The Gophers (11-19 last season) will play a LIU team that lost by 37 points at St. John’s (NY) in its opener Monday. LIU went 7-22 last season.
Watch games: Braun is the first true freshman to lead the Gophers in scoring since Rachel Banham. Braun is one of 20 preseason candidates for the Cheryl Miller Award for the nation’s top small forward. She, Heyer and Battle were the top three in minutes played for the Gophers last season. LIU is led by senior guard Ashley Austin. She led the team in scoring last season (12.5) and had 14 vs. St. John’s on Monday.
Forecast: Plitzweit starts games on the 17thTh season as a head coach for her third team in three seasons. Her teams at South Dakota and at West Virginia have advanced to the NCAA tournament every year since the 2018-19 season. Minnesota is 35-15 in season openers all-time, 27-5 at home. That number will likely improve to 36-15 and 28-5 Wednesday.
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