The #13 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball team will come off of a ten day break for finals when they host the Rhode Island Rams at Williams Arena on Saturday. It will be the final non-conference game for the Gophers who currently are 10-0 on the season. Minnesota will look to improve upon its third best start in program history and get within one win of tying the second best start in history.
Minnesota has had great balance in their scoring thus far this season—one reason for their success. The Gophers have Kenisha Bell and Destiny Pitts both averaging double figures in points while Analise Lamke and Taiye Bello are as close as you can get both averaging 9.9 points per game. Bello is also averaging 13.2 rebound per game.
Bell leads the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game. her 41 assists also leads the Gophers, but so do her 33 turnovers. Pitts is averaging 13.8 points per game, and has gotten hot the past three contests from behind the arc. On the season she is now shooting 42.9% from three.
One area Minnesota must improve upon before the Big Ten season starts is their free throw shooting. As a team the Gophers are shooting just 66.3% from the stripe. Remove Pitts 88.9% from that and it gets even worse—the rest of the team is shooting a dismal 62.6%. Bell through ten games is averaging over 8 trips to the stripe per game but she is just making five of them. Those points will be critical as the opponent strength picks up.
As for Saturday, the Gophers should not have much trouble with the Rams. Rhode island is 5-5 on the season and has just a 1-3 record against power 6 teams this season with their lone win coming over Providence. The lost to Boston College 88-64—a team the Gophers defeated by 8 in Boston earlier in December.
The Rams have three players in double figures led by Elemy Colume. The junior guard averages 14.6 points per game, with fellow guard Davida Dale in second with 13.6 per game. Center Nicole Jorgenson rounds out the trio with 12.3 per game. The Gophers should hold easy advantages in rebounding and defense as the Rams turn the ball over over 20 times per game. With the Gophers transition offense, that should mean some easy baskets.
Minnesota will begin Big Ten play Friday December 28th when they host Wisconsin at the Barn. They then will get their first tough test of the Big Ten season as they head to Ann Arbor for a New Year’s Eve matinee against the Wolverines.
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN
Rhode Island Rams @ #13 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: 3:00 PM Saturday
Stream: BTN + ($$)
Radio 96.7 FM, IHeart Radio APP