4:00 PM ET, November 23, 2003
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- For two seasons, the Minnesota women's basketball team seemed content with their transformation from laughingstock to Big Ten title contender.Not this year. Lindsay Whalen scored 24 points and three other players scored in double figures as No. 11 Minnesota dominated 16th-ranked Colorado 95-61 in Sunday's championship game of the Subway Classic. After posting an 8-88 record in the Big Ten from 1996 to 2001, the Gophers have made the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons. The win over Colorado gave the Gophers a 6-0 mark against ranked opponents at Williams Arena since Pam Borton took over as head coach last season. With two blowout wins in their tournament, Minnesota (2-0) is off and rolling again, even surpassing the expectations of their coach. "I never expected us to play this well, this early in the season," Borton said. "This is how I wanted us to be playing around January first, not now. This shows me and shows the team how good we can be by then. I told the team I now have extremely high expectations for the rest of the season." Whalen, who won the MVP award of Minnesota's November tournament for the third straight year, connected on 10 of 13 shots in each of the two weekend games. She added four assists and four steals Sunday as the Gophers ran Colorado ragged with their transition game. "We wanted to make a statement," Borton said. "We were up 30 most of the first half but I told the players not to look at the score. In the past, we've had a tendency to slack off with a big lead and that's how teams catch up." Junior center Janel McCarville scored 17 points and added 14 rebounds and four steals as her strong low-post defense helped limit Colorado's Tera Bjorklund to 14 points, one day after Bjorklund scored 33 against Harvard. "I knew I had a really big assignment. Today was a big step for me," said McCarville. "I was a horrible post defender when I got here. Anybody could have beaten me." Minnesota's defense smothered Colorado (3-1) in the first half, when the Buffaloes hit just five field goals in the first 18 minutes and fell behind 43-16 at the break. Freshman Liz Podominick scored 15 points and point guard Shannon Schonrock added a career-high 14 for the Gophers. Schonrock hit a pair of three-pointers in the first seven minutes, and Whalen scored on a pair of dazzling drives to the basket as Minnesota took a 20-8 lead with 10 minutes to play in the first half. Podominick then converted an offensive rebound and sank a three-pointer on the next trip, pushing Minnesota's lead to 40-11. Katie Fagan led Colorado with 14 points.
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