The University of Minnesota women’s basketball team is making its first ‘Great 8’ appearance in the WNIT, taking on Wyoming (18-14, 11-7 Mountain West) on April 1 in Laramie, Wyo., at the Arena-Auditorium. The game will be Minnesota’s first-ever trip to Laramie.

TV/Stream: Mountain West Network
Tip Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Radio: Learfield/Gopher Radio Network (Tanner Hoops and Lynnette Sjoquist)

Minnesota’s matchup with the Cowgirls of Wyoming is the fourth between the two programs. Overall Minnesota holds a 18-7 record against teams from the Mountain West.
Minnesota and Wyoming have not met since 2001 when the team faced the Cowgirls at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. That game the Golden Gophers handled the Cowgirls 92-66 and in the three wins against Wyoming all-time, Minnesota has won by an average margin of 15.3.
This season Wyoming took on three ‘Power 5’ programs and finished 1-2 in those contests, defeating BYU 86-74 back in November in Laramie. The other two games were against Oklahoma State on the road, which was a 78-62 loss, and Nebraska, which resulted in a 71-52 loss in Laramie. Wyoming also took on NCAA Tournament team Creighton and Gonzaga, and dropped those two contests by double digits.
Individually the Cowgirls this season have been paced by Allyson Fertig (14.1 PPG), who was a All-Mountain West team member for the second time in her career. Additionally Emily Mellema was selected to the All-Defensive Team. Fertig was eighth in the league in scoring this season at 13.2 points per game while her 8.5 rebounds a contest were third. Mellema led the Cowgirls with 22 steals on defense this season and was the spearhead of the league’s No. 1 scoring defense as Wyoming allowed just 57.4 points per game during Mountain West action.
Wyoming’s roster does not have a single Minnesota native, but does include six international student-athletes with those countries being Poland, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, Finland and Australia.

Minnesota reached the ‘Great 8’ after picking up a 69-65 home victory over North Dakota State University (22-12, 13-3 Summit) on March 29. In the second matchup of the season with the Bison the Golden Gophers got 16 points from true freshman Grace Grocholski, who hit four triples in the win. Down the stretch Amaya Battle erased a 3-point deficit with back-to-back jumpers followed by a steal on the defensive end from redshirt freshman Niamya Holloway and free throws that iced the victory for the Maroon and Gold. Battle finished with 11 points, five assists and five rebounds while Holloway scored six points and added six rebounds (five offensive) and a pair of steals.
Amaya Battle and Sophie Hart of the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team earned a spot on the 2023-24 College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Women’s Basketball Team, it was announced Tuesday. To be eligible for the award, nominees must have a 3.5 GPA and completed one full calendar year at their current institution and is at least a sophomore academically and athletically. Nominees must also be a starter or important to the team and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests. Battle and Hart now both advance to the CSC Academic All-America ballot.
Minnesota collected three All-Big Ten Awards at the end of the regular season, as voted on the league’s coaches and members of the media. Both Braun and Battle earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention nods while freshman Grace Grocholski earned Big Ten All-Freshman laurels. Junior Maggie Czinano was also named the team’s representative for the Sportsmanship Award.
For the first time in seven appearances in the WNIT the Golden Gophers are in the ‘Great 8’. Prior to 2024 Minnesota’s best finish in the WNIT was in the ‘Super 16’ back in 2014. Minnesota is now 8-6 all-time in the WNIT. The most points scored in a WNIT game in program history was 48 points by Rachel Banham vs. Milwaukee in 2016.
This season Grocholski has played an average of 33.9 minutes per game as a true freshman, the second most per game in program history only behind Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen’s 35.8 in 2000-01.
During the season Minnesota took on 10 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament, picking up wins against five of those teams, including No. 6 seed, and Big Ten Tournament runner-up, Nebraska.

4 – In the last four games redshirt freshman Niamya Holloway has averaged 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals while shootin g47.6 percent from the floor in 20.3 minutes per game.
9 – With five assists against NDSU, Amaya Battle is now tied for ninth all-time in assists at Minnesota.
4 -Maggie Czinano has posted four two-steal performances in her last seven games.
8 – Minnesota is 8-6 all-time in the WNIT.
48 -Rachel Banham holds the program record for points in a single WNIT game with 48 back in 2016 against Milwaukee.

(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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