Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In case you want to know

ESPN vainly calls itself, "The Worldwide Leader in Sports." Actually, it is the world's leader in male dominated sports.

Their nightly "Bottom Line" is so sexist, it's disgusting.

For example, during the January 28th Tennessee-Duke women's basketball telecast, no mention of the WNBA's new collective bargaining agreement, the third such pact in women's pro sports history. No mention whatsoever.

The following day, USA Today ran a 41-word piece -- yes, I counted each word, on the agreement, which replaces the old one that expired at the end of the 2007 season, in their sports section's back pages. While back at ESPN, still no mention.

In case you want to know, here is the highlights of the new agreement, which will commence with the 2008 season and continue through 2013:

--Player salaries, which still dwarfs their NBA counterparts, are guaranteed to increase each year, along with individual minimum and maximum player salaries

--a revenue sharing component will kick in, should league revenues hit agreed-upon benchmarks: The WNBA has a new eight-year TV pact with guess who --- ESPN

--adjusting free agency to increase more player movement, which include reducing the number of core players each team may designate from two to one, beginning in 2009: a core player gets exclusive negotiating rights to the particular team in exchange for an offer of a fully guaranteed, one-year contract at the maximum salary

"This is a landmark agreement for our players," says WNBA Players Association Director of Operations Pam Wheeler in a released statement on Monday.

I have covered the league since its inception, and the Minnesota Lynx since they joined the WNBA two years later. I actually love covering it, unlike the other so-called local beat reporters, who seem like they would rather paint fences than be caught at a women's game.

I want the WNBA, which starts its 12th season this summer, to succeed, which gives me the right to be critical as well.

The new CBA, as impressive as it is, still doesn't hide the fact that the league still struggles for acceptance in America's sporting landscape. It is still viewed by many as an afterthought, rarely taken seriously by the sports media.

Media coverage is spotty at best, ignored at worst.

WNBA President Donna Orender, who I feel still doesn't quite get it, or if she does, doesn't let on that she does, acts more like a cheerleader than her league's top spokeswoman. She avoids tough questions like warm weather at this time in Minnesota. She continues to give us the same old cheers that the league is the longest running and most successful women's pro league in the country.

I agree with the longest running part, but when teams such as Minnesota, rarely sell out games. When several teams had folded, the most recent was Charlotte. When you can't even convince ESPN, supposedly one of your partners, to even run game scores or decent highlights, then the 'most successful' part must be questioned. The all-sports network acts more like a silent partner.

And with Turner Sports now in charge of NBA TV, the league's former 24-hour television network -- which by the way, its bottom line did announce the WNBA's new deal, it remains to be seen if they will be as committed to showing women's hoops. Currently, the channel is slated to show 70 regular season contests in 2008.

My second by the way: we still don't know all the intricate details of their TV deal. Do you think NBA Commish David Stern would keep similar deals with his league so secret -- I think not. Stern would climb Mt. Everest to tell the world.

And, yet another by the way -- as long as Stern likes the WNBA, the league will continue to exist. The day he turns his back on the women's league, it's curtains, I'm afraid.

Finally, with the CBA finally ratified, the league can conduct its expansion draft. In case you didn't know, the Atlanta Dream will come on board this summer, making the league's two conferences even with seven teams each. The expansion draft is expected to be held on February 6 -- each team can protect six players.

This means the Lynx is sure to lose one of its youngsters, perhaps Shay Murphy, to the Dream.

An interesting name for the new Atlanta team, an area for years can't sell out Atlanta Hawks games during the normal basketball season, or the baseball team in their normal season. Team officials, and the league, must be dreaming to think, a women's team will do better in Peachtree City.

After this draft, teams can focus on the college draft, which takes place the day after the national championship game.

In case you want to know.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Women's basketball need better officials

You won't get either Pam Borton or Suzy Merchant making comments about it because they would get censured by the league.

But I can -- the Big Ten have the worst officiating in women's basketball.

The three-person crew who worked Sunday's Michigan State-Minnesota contest: Barb, John and Tim (we won't use their last names to protect the guilty or incompetent), acted like Moe, Larry and Curly in their inconsistent whistling. Forty fouls were called between the two teams.

The Gophers' Emily Fox gets called for charging, after she stole the ball at mid court, when the Spartan player gave her little room to make adjustments. Later in the game, a similar play again occurred and the referees called it right -- blocking.

Touch fouls were regularly called. Meanwhile, muggings on both sides were left virtually uncalled.

"It was a very physical basketball game," admits Borton afterwards. On the record, Merchant offered a 'no-comment' response during her post-game remarks.

I have covered women's basketball for 20 years, and rarely can I say that the officiating has been, at best, average. It's even worse in the WNBA, where many of the bad officials also work during the summer.

The women deserve better. A lot better.

If it was the other side, and bad officiating was this long being present in men's basketball, all hell would been made. The sports media would endlessly decry this.

ESPN would do around the clock "Outside the Lines," getting to the bottom of this.

Congressional hearings would be called, and the bigwigs in charged subpoenaed.

But because it's only women, no one seems to care. No one seems to care that these female athletes deserves the best, as does their male counterparts.

And it doesn't matter -- the female officials are no better than their male partners.

In a word, they all stink with incompetency. They all lack consistency.

The women's game deserves better. Good officials will make the games better to watch. They will have a better flow to it.

Rather than a Sunday contest, such as the Gophers-Spartans one, that slugged along because three officials thought that the almost 10,000 spectators in Williams Arena, and the few that were watching it on television (on the Big Ten Network, which still is blacked out in Minnesota, unless you have a dish), were there to watch them perform.

We did --- Their awful performance sadly out shined the players.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A good Knight

Last season was Leslie Knight's breakout year.

She rarely played her first two seasons, a total of 19 games; barely registering a point on the scoreboard in the process.

As others left the program, Knight instead stuck it out through hard work, repetition and perseverance.

"She developed herself into a complete player," notes Minnesota Coach Pam Borton.

The 6-1 Knight became a starter last season, not missing an assignment. Her average quadrupled to eight points a game.

Proving that it was no fluke, Knight has quietly continue up the charts. She's second in the Big Ten in scoring (16.4 ppg), and easily has become the Gophers' go-to player.

Knight's career-high 33 points helped defeat his Buckeyes 79-70 Thursday night at Williams Arena.

"I thought the Knight kid played terrific," says Ohio State Coach Jim Foster. "She obviously was the difference in the game."

"Plays get called for me, and I try to execute," Knight modestly points out.

This is how Knight has "tried" thus far -- 16 points at Michigan State, 20 against Purdue; 18 points vs. Iowa; another 20-point effort at Wisconsin; two 12-point games against Illinois and Penn State, respectively; and 17 points in a double-overtime loss at Indiana.

She's also hitting at a 60 percent clip.

"She is very difficult to defend," says Borton of Knight.

The Gophers snapped a six-game Ohio State winning streak with the win, as well as breaking its own three-game slid against the Buckeyes.

It was a good Knight for all wearing Maroon and Gold.

Other tidbits from Thursday's win, which Minnesota improves to 14-6, 5-3 in the Big Ten:

--Borton changed her lineup, inserting a three-guard lineup with Katie Ohm instead of forward Korinne Campbell. Ohm went 3-4, and 2-of-2 from behind the arc, and finished with 8 points. In her first non-start of the season, Campbell played 17 minutes and had a basket and a rebound.

--The Gopher coach told me that changing starters will keep everyone hungry and ward off complacency: "It's a game-to-game, practice-to-practice basis," says Borton

--a Ohio State beat writer asked Foster did the always noisy crowd at Williams Arena (it was only 5,838, but at times it sounded like 20,000) may had affected his squad, the coach responded: "I've never lost to a building in 30 years of coaching. If you want the building to be quiet, (then) make shots."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Comcast got caught (temporarily), trying to be slick

To be able to win a cable franchise, the company must provide public, educational and governmental (PEG) access. Such access bring us programs, ranging from exotic cooking, to school board meetings, to one-man and one-woman shows.

But leave it to cold, calculating Comcast, that behemoth cable company, to find a way to wiggle out of their public and contractual obligation and find yet another way to make a few more bucks.

A federal judge in Michigan issued a court order January 14, temporarily halting Comcast's plans to move community access channels from basic cable to digital cable. The order came after a lawsuit was filed January 11 by two townships outside Lansing, Mich., arguing that the company made their plans without consulting with the communities, and violated both state and federal laws. At least 40,000 customers statewide would be affected by the move, the suit claims, because they couldn't afford the converter box needed to receive digital cable.

Comcast said that the lawsuits had not basis. The company needed to free up bandwidth so it can offer more services, which ultimately mean higher prices (always read the fine print in their ads).

Supposedly, Comcast offered the non-digital customers a free cable box for one year. (Warning, warning! -- These boxes cost $4 a month --- that's an additional $48 dollars the company can put on these customers' monthly tab. Again, always read the fine print with anything Comcast offers that is "free.")

All U.S. television broadcasting must convert from analog to digital signals in February 2009. If you have already have a digital box, or digital TV, you're good to go. If not, you can purchase a converter box (go to for more details).

Thank goodness, there's a judge out there who can smell a rat. There is a judge on the federal court circuit who isn't a big business lackey, and still looks out for the little guy, who must content with the Comcasts of the world.

Especially this Comcast, who tried an unethical maneuver to collect more dough, by forcing non-digital customers who religiously watch public access programming to eventually pay more to get it. This is nothing more than slick corporate tactics.

Yet again, what you'd expect when municipalities don't represent the public interest as they should. What you expect when cable franchises, which are awarded to someone else, are allowed to be bought by out-of-town city slickers such as Comcast, without any checks and balances.

The only checks and balances is when Comcast get our checks, while keeping their greedy fingers greased, and keeping us customers (for full disclosure purposes, sadly I have a Comcast customer -- my cable owners have changed hands four times since I first had it installed almost 20 years ago) out of balance.

Cable franchises should be subjected to better scrutiny, by better watchdogs. They should be given only one-year, non-renewable licenses, not a perpetual license to print money, which is the case when typical bureaucratic rubber stamping is involved.

Especially someone as scrupulous as Comcast sometimes appeaer. They call it "Comcast - ic," Comcast's silly slogan -- to me, it's being slick.

No word yet if a permanent motion was granted. Personally, I'm cheering for the little guys.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To play or not to play on Mondays

The Big Ten this season has scheduled a series of Monday night women basketball contests.

With having the Big Ten Network, which unless you are a satellite dish owner or a non-Comcast customer, you can see these games. If you have Comcast, which most of us who lives in the Twin Cities and most of Minnesota, it's never on Monday, or any day for that matter, in seeing women, men or any other conference scheduled event.

Nonetheless, "Monday Night Women's Hoops," can be destination television for many, and present scheduling headaches for others, especially coaches.

But you can't have it both ways. say some coaches.

Coaches long begged for more exposure for women's basketball, recalls Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder. So it's too late to cry about it now.

"If we want TV exposure, is it something we need to do?," she asks. "Is it something we need to do? If we want the Big Ten Network, then we have to do it.

"It is a trade off that we have to make," continues Bluder, "and we have to buy into it."

"TV can be an asset," says Ohio State's Jim Foster, adding that it is also necessary to educate and convince your home fans to come out to Monday games. What good is it if the folks see loads of empty seats on the telecast, he notes. "We have to tell our fans it is an advantage to come out."

"Anytime we can get on TV is very important," believes Suzy Merchant of MSU. "We have to play on any night we have to, to get our league more recognition."

With a Monday game added to its usual Thursday-Sunday schedule, Big Ten teams now must play three games in a week.

"You have to sacrifice sometimes to get your product out there," says Felisha Legette-Jack of Indiana. "There are not a lot of (women's) games played (on TV) on Mondays. It is getting our product out there."

"I tell my kids not to make excuses," notes Jolette Law of Illinois, whose team has such a schedule this week. They lost to Iowa on Monday. "We have to deal with it."

Penn State's Coquese Washington says the BTN is getting watched, especially by future recruits.

"The BTN is helping us stay relevant right now," she says. "The kids are watching our games."

Except in Minnesota, we might add.

Even though the coaches are split on playing on Mondays, the players are loving it, claims Legette-Jack. "The kids would rather play games than practice," she joked.

Finally, like it or not, Monday nights for Big Ten women's basketball is here to stay. And it's on BTN.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Big Ten this week in men's hoops

How is Minnesota playing so well, with essentially the same cast of characters that managed only nine wins a year ago?

"It was a tough situation last year for those kids," notes Indiana's Kelvin Sampson on Monday's weekly coaches teleconference, referring to former coach Dan Monson's departure early last season.

"They always could put the ball in the basket," adds Northwestern's Bill Carmody, speaking on players such as seniors Lawrence McKenzie and Dan Coleman, "but they are older now."

However, the most obvious difference is Tubby Smith, who after two losses last week to Indiana and Michigan State, is still looking for his 400th career victory. The Gophers play at Ohio State this Saturday.

"He commands respect," says Sampson. "Those seniors play hard for him, and they love him."

The second obvious difference is that the Gophers this season is playing defense, bringing back the days of old when Clem Haskins-coached teams made it awfully hard to score on them. Minnesota (33rd) is allowing just under 61 points a game, one of five Big Ten teams ranked among the nation's toughest defenses. Wisconsin (2nd/52.1 ppg), Iowa (14th/58 ppg), Illinois (42nd/61.7 ppg) and Purdue (61.9/49th) are the others.

"Coach Smith always has been known as a defensive coach," Carmody points out. "They (the Gophers) are a little more disruptive (on defense) than they were before."

In other teleconference tidbits:

--Iowa's Justin Johnson hit eight treys against Indiana, which is the 13th best performance in the country thus far this season. "He is a terrific shooter," notes his coach, Todd Lickliter, adding that he is no longer a secret. "More defenses are really keying on him, but it opens up (shots) for others."

--Geary Claxton is lost for the season for Penn State. He suffered a season-ending knee injury, a torn ACL ligament in his left knee, during the first half of last Tuesday's game at home versus Wisconsin. The senior forward, who was second in the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding, was attempting to rebound his own shot and landed awkwardly on the knee.

"He gave us 16-18 points a game, and 11 rebounds," says Penn State Coach Ed De Chellis of Claxton, who scored 1,542 career points. "He is one of our best defensive players on the perimeter. He's a tough and competitive kid. You will miss a lot of different things (from him)."

--Indiana and Wisconsin are the only Big Ten teams still without a blemish in conference play, both with 5-0 records. The Badgers' Bo Ryan dismissed the annual talk on how tough it is to win on the road. "It doesn't matter whether you are (at) home or away, you got to win," he says, "but it is tough to win away from home."

--Michigan State and Purdue aren't far behind, each with 4-1 league marks. "There is still a lot of basketball left to play," warns MSU's Tom Izzo.

--Michigan Coach John Beilein, when asked to compare the Big Ten to the Big East, where he coached last season at West Virginia, "The Big East maybe is more diverse in the way they play (defense)." Big Ten teams mostly play "in your face" defenses, he adds. As for the coaching, "I don't think there is any difference with the great coaches in the Big East and this league," he says. As for his Wolverines, "We are doing more defensive stuff in practice than I had in a long time. Our defense, as well as our intensity, must improve. We are giving up too many baskets in Big Ten play."

The first year U-M coach also isn't pleased with his team's shooting and overall execution on offense. In other words, Beilein is not happy, period.

--Despite being 0-3 in their last three games, all on the road, Ohio State Coach Thad Matta points out, "In all the games, in certain situations, we played good basketball." He loves coaching frosh Evan Turner: "He has been very coachable and accepting what we want him to do." Matta wants Turner to continue taking care of the ball "and reading situation a little bit better."

--Ohio State's Jamar Butler recently cracked the 1,000-point plateau; he now has 1,024 career points. "He really has been through a lot in this program," says Matta. "He is not a very vocal person but the leadership comes from how he plays." Butler leads the Big Ten in assists (7.60 apg).

--Northwestern's Carmody says no team can be successful in college if you can't hit the three. "An open 3-point shot is better than a closer 2-point shot," he believes. "You have to be able to shoot the ball from that distance. I don't think you can be a very good team if you don't have a (3-point) shot."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This time, parity is for real

The Big Ten women basketball coaches in past years would boast of parity but their teams' results belied them.

However, in the midst of their first full week of 2007-08 conference play, the coaches' balance claims can't be disputed.

Each club has at least one loss, with winless Northwestern leading the way with three defeats. There are six teams all bunched up at the top, each with only a blemish on their conference ledger thus far, with Minnesota currently atop with a 3-1 mark; the other five: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Indiana and Purdue, all having 2-1 records.

"There are no dominant teams (in the Big Ten)," Minnesota's Pam Borton points out. Speaking during its first weekly teleconference of the season January 8th, the Gophers' head coach continued, "Anybody can beat anybody, whether home or on the road."

"It is a balanced conference," concurs Purdue's Sharon Versyp. "You have to be extremely competitive."

"The strength of our league is outstanding," adds Lisa Stone, the Wisconsin head coach, whose Badgers suffered its third league defeat at home Monday against Minnesota.

"It is an interesting race thus far," says Michigan State's first-year coach Suzy Merchant, whose Spartans have been battling injuries to key players.

Along with balance, almost each Big Ten coach also cries out about their respective club's struggling to be consistent for 40 minutes.

"It has been a hard part for us," confirms Merchant.

"I am pleased in some areas, but there still is some things need to be done (better)," admits Jolette Law of her Illinois squad (10-5, 2-2). Although the Illini is 38th in the nation in scoring defense. allowing 56.5 ppg a contest this season, Law wants more on-ball pressure.

"We are more talented than we were last year," says Indiana's Felisha Legette-Jack, now in her second year with the Hoosiers, "but they still don't know the system that well."

"We are a Jekyll and Hyde team," Lisa Bluder points out of her Iowa club (9-2, 2-2). "We (coaches) don't know which one will show up. One day we are good at one thing, and (another) day we are good at another thing. It is a mystery to me."

Ohio State's Jim Foster also attribute to the fact that many teams this season are young, including his own Buckeyes. "Not too many seniors," he says.

But the young are doing it so far.

Such as Ohio State freshman Jantel Lavender, who has scored in double digits in each of her 14 contests this season. It is the longest for a Big Ten freshman since Iowa's Megan Skouby strung together a 16-game streak to finish the 2005-06 season. Her play is making Ohio State one tough squad, says Legette-Jack.

MSU sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan had two 8-blocks games this season, which ties her fifth in this category among top 50 NCAA leaders. She leads the Big Ten, and is second in the nation, in blocked shots (4.8 a game).

"Her length and height is most obvious," Merchant says of the 6-7 DeHaan, who adds that she still is getting pushed around down low, which means DeHaan must get stronger. "I think the time for her to gain weight is in the off-season," the Spartan coach notes. "It is hard to do that during the season."

Finally, if there is a sophomore jink or slump, don't tell Illinois second-year center Jenna Smith. Her 18.3 points per game, 10 rebounds a game and .574 field goal percentage has Smith among the nation's leaders.

"I challenged her a lot early on," admits Law, Smith's second college coach in as many seasons, "and she responded." Especially in hitting the glass, the coach concludes. "(Smith) puts herself in good position to get the ball."

Monday, January 7, 2008

Who's telling the truth now

Nothing new was learned from Sunday's CBS' "60 Minutes" over-hyped interview with Roger Clemens.

He said he never was injected with steroids by a trainer. He said he is telling the truth.

Clemens said the trainer is lying.

The only thing I got after watching it, is that Clemens can beg and whine with the best of them.

Clemens told us that he is very upset, that after 25 years of being in the public limelight as a major league pitcher, that he is not given the benefit of the doubt after his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report. That he realizes now that in America, you are considered guilty before innocent.

Well, Mr. Clemens, welcome to the real world! Welcome to the world where most Americans, especially if they are persons of color, aren't given benefits of doubt. Welcome to the world where you can't hide behind lawyers, and written statements, and simply hope that your problem will magically go away.

Barry Bonds said the same thing, that he was innocent, when he was immediately given poster person status over the steroids controversy. He never received the benefit of the doubt either, and he also played over 20 years in the big leagues.

The big difference was that Bonds was universally hated, while Clemens was the All-American boy.

Well he is -- if you're White, well it's all right.

We also learn from Sunday's interview that Mike Wallace needs to retire. No longer the bulldog interviewer he was known for, for years. He was nothing but an overage pitcher, tossing big, juicy softball questions at Clemens, who waffled, wined and showed his so-called disgust at what has happened to him, the entire time. If Clemens was back in the National League, where pitchers bat, he could be the all-time home run king with the soft questions Wallace asked him.

No follow-up. No second questioning Clemens on why he didn't come public with his so-called innocence immediately, instead of hiding behind written statements of denial.

If the trainer lied, then why did Clemens wait almost a month after the report came out to file a suit against him. Why didn't he meet with former Sen. Mitchell and give his side of the story during the investigative stage?

Why didn't Wallace grill Clemens, asking him for dates and times on what he supposedly was injected with? Why didn't he ask the pitcher for examples, some proof that would give me reason to offer the doubt benefit he feels he deserves?

What did we learn from the Wallace-Clemens interview Sunday? Both men needs to retire.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iowa wasn't the only place where losing took place

In keeping in spirit what was transpiring in the state just south of Minnesota, Goldy Gopher, the University of Minnesota's nonsensical mascot held up a homemade sign during a timeout, "Will causus for Gophers."
As did every presidential candidate, save for Barack Obama and Mike Hucklebee, the home team lost Thursday night.
"It was a fun game to watch," Iowa Hawkeyes Coach Lisa Bluder said afterwards. "It's a lot more fun when you are on the winning side."
Both squads traded misfired back and forth at their respective baskets for the first four minutes of the extra five minutes of Thursday's Minnesota-Iowa contest. Iowa and Minnesota combined for 10 shots, and each team made only one.
Only two made free throws by Kristi Smith, who didn't connect on her only field goal attempt but got fouled by the Gophers' Emily Fox, finally broke a 64-64 tie, which was the score at the end of regulation.
Seconds later, Leslie Knight hit a layup to knot the score at 66 apiece. However, it would be Minnesota's final basket. With 13 ticks left, Smith found Krista VandeVenter, who swished a jumper to give her team the winning margin -- 68-66.
Brittany McCoy could've tied the game but badly missed on her drive to the basket with a second left, and Minnesota (11-4, 2-1) suffered its first Big Ten loss of the season.
As painful as it was for Sen. Joseph Biden and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, along with Fred Thompson, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ron Paul to watch the final tallies in Iowa, it was equally painful to watch the home team's performance Thursday in Williams Arena. Unlike Bluder, Minnesota Coach Pam Borton didn't especially find the game enjoyable.
"We were lucky to go into overtime with the performance we had tonight," she admitted.
The Gopher starting backcourt were Casper-like, it was that frightful: McCoy shot 1-for-7, and although Fox shot 6-for-17 and finished with 15 points, she missed a jumper with 10 seconds left that could have gave her team the win.
Their frontcourt wasn't that much better: Korinne Campbell (2-for-6) and Zoe Harper (1-for-6) missed easy layup chances. Only Ashley Ellis-Milan (13 points on 6-for-9 shooting) and Leslie Knight, who led all scorers with 18 points (8-for-12) displayed any semblance of markswomanship all night.
Minnesota led 64-62 with 1:50 left in regulation, but didn't capitalize on it. Of three lead changes in the second half, it would be the hosts' final advantage: VandeVenter, Iowa's 6-2 senior forward who had 10 points, later banked in a shot to tie up the game.
It was one of many defensive opportunities that the Gophers squandered all night. Overall, the defense, which could only please Pepe LePew because it basically stunk.
"We couldn't get stops," noted Borton. "We didn't get the stops we needed down the stretch. Not all of us were on the same page defensively."
Added Fox, "Some people were playing hard defense, and some weren't. We were all over the place. We got to fix that."
Perhaps their first conference home loss of the season will scare the bejeevees out of Minnesota, and scare them into playing better. The Gophers came into the game, sharing first place with Illinois, after one week of Big Ten play. Knight was named player of the week, her first for the U-M senior. The players have had nearly a month off of classes, and knocked off Michigan State and Purdue.
However, two wins don't make a season, unless you are in the Final Four in March or April.
Minnesota swaggered in Thursday, and slinked out afterwards. They aren't that good to start pumping out their chests.
The Gophers must be on one accord, with everyone knowing what is going on, to be successful. They are still a relatively young team, and it showed that night, especially when bad shots were taken, and defensive lapses ruled.
"It is a long Big Ten season," said Borton, reminding us that 14 games remains on the schedule. Their next two games are on the road: Wisconsin (Jan. 7) and Illinois (Jan. 10). "But our whole team needs to show up for us to win," she added. "When only 2-3 people are carrying the load, we are not very good."
This fact was crystal clear Thursday night.