Here we are again. Frozen Four semifinals. Minnesota and Wisconsin. Groundhog's Day had nothing on this. The Gophers and the Badgers will square off in the national semifinals for the second straight year, and for the fifth time in the NCAA Tournament. Both teams have taken two of the four NCAA Tournament games, but the Gophers have taken the last two. Can they make it the last three tonight?
Wisconsin had a stretch in the mid- 2000s where they dominated the Gophers. As Gopher senior All-American defenseman Rachel Ramsey put it, "It was a little bit different my freshman year because we were chasing Wisconsin at that time. I remember then, if we split with Wisconsin, we were excited and thought it was something to celebrate about." However, that all seemed to chance when Minnesota defeated Wisconsin to win the 2012 National Championship in Duluth. They seemed to get the Badger off their back. Gopher coach Brad Frost agrees.
"Four or five years ago, we went a three or four-year stretch feeling like we couldn’t beat Wisconsin until the 2012 championship up in Duluth."
That win was game number four in a row that season where Minnesota had not lost to Wisconsin. It proved that the Gophers could pull out the big games against the Badgers. That undefeated streak is now up to an almost unfathomable 15 straight games without a loss to Wisconsin, including last season's 5-3 win in the NCAA Semifinals in Connecticut. This year's Seniors have an all-time record of 15-1-2 against Wisconsin. The juniors and below have never....NEVER lost a game to their archrival. That's incredible.
Wisconsin meanwhile wants history to be just that...history. They don't want to look back. They don't care about the streak. All they care about is that the game starts 0-0 at 5:00 tonight. As Badger coach Mark Johnson put it, You can’t change history. That is one thing we can’t control but we can learn from history and that is the challenge we have tomorrow afternoon. We were in that game last year and we played a really strong game but it just seems that in the last little bit we’ve come up short. Two of our last three games [against Minnesota] have gone into overtime and one ended in a tie. Minnesota’s players have been able to make plays but that’s just a piece of history. We’re just concentrated on the future." Badger Blayre Turnbull echoed her coaches sentiments. "We were in this exact same situation last year, playing Minnesota in the semifinal round and being the lower seed.
Reminder on How to Watch/Listen/Follow Stats:
Gametime: 5:00 CDT
Watch: Free Livestream Here
Listen: 105 The Ticket (JIP after NCAA Basketball), and free live audio on Gophersports.com
Live Stats: Here