The Gopher women followed 1 strong effort with a weak effort, but finished the exhibition season at, well, 0-0, I guess. But with 2 wins. After 2 games:
Micaela Riche 26 minutes, 14 ppg, 55% shooting, 9 rebounds
Jackie Johnson 10 minutes, has yet to score
Katie Loberg has not played, out for a couple weeks with a leg injury
Amanda Zahui B. not yet with the team
A lot will change here before we're done. The news right now is Loberg is hurt, and Jackie Johnson has not hit any kind of stride. Riche has been pretty solid at 14 and 9 and 55.
Kionna Kellogg 24 minutes, 8 ppg, 43%, 7 boards, 2 assists, 2.5 steals
Kayla Hirt 27 minutes, 9 points, 44%, 6 boards, 2.5 assists
Kellogg played in the post in game 1 and Hirt moved up, but longer term I think Hirt will be at the small forward. Kellogg had one great game and one not great game, nothing anywhere near her average. Hirt belongs.
Sari Noga 33 minutes, 7.5 points, 45%, 5.5 boards, 3 assists, 3.5 steals
Sari isn't quick, can't jump...but she is getting the job done.
Rachel Banham 28.5 minutes, 21 points, 54%, 6 boards, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals, but 3.5 turnovers
Leah Cotton 15.5 minutes, 4.5 points, 52%, 2.5 boards, 2 assists, 3 turnovers
Cotton has done some nice things, but overall she still looks like a freshman out there. Banham has been fine fine fine.
Mikayla Bailey 30.5 minutes, 7 points, 36%, 2 assists, 2 steals
Shayne Mullaney played 13 minutes and then zero minutes, has yet to score
I was wrong about Mikayla Bailey, she can play at this level. I am not ready to say I was wrong about Shayne Mullaney, but she sure hasn't looked comfortable out there yet.
Minnesota is shooting 45%--50% on 3s and 44% on 2s. Opponents shot just 31%, and less than 25% on 3s. The Gophers are giving up a ton of offensive boards (23 in 2 games) and turning it over (25 times vs. Mankato along, 23 times per game over the 2 games.
Strengths--So far, Banham, Riche, Hirt, Noga, Kellogg; points in the paint (37-21 advantage on average)
Weaknesses--So far, turnovers and defensive rebounding
With Loberg and Zahui B. out, and Johnson and Mullaney not yet in sync, it feels like we don't know much about this team just yet. But it doesn't hurt that Noga and Bailey are showing a lot more than expected and another newcomer--Hirt--is delivering more or less just as expected, considering that we expected a lot.