See more of the story


At Wyoming, 7:30 p.m. Monday, WNIT Great 8 round

Streaming; radio: Mountain West Network; 96.7 FM

Kent Youngblood's analysis:

Opening bell: The Gophers are in the Great 8 for the first time in seven WNIT appearances. Minnesota (18-15) built a 16-point lead late in the third quarter against North Dakota State on Friday night but trailed by three with 2:18 left in the game. The Gophers won 69-65 over the visiting Bison, though, thanks to Amaya Battle, who scored five points in Minnesota's 7-0 finish. Leading scorer Mara Braun tweaked her right foot in that game and likely won't play Monday. ... This is Minnesota's first trip to Laramie. Wyoming (18-14) was 2-6 in the eight games before the WNIT, including a loss in the Cowgirls' first Mountain West Conference tournament game. But Wyoming breezed past Texas-San Antonio by 16 and South Dakota by 32, with both games at home. Wyoming was 1-2 vs. power five conference teams this season, and six of its losses came to teams that made the NCAA tournament, including an overtime loss to UNLV.

Sign up for our Gophers Update newsletter

Watch her: Gophers freshman Grace Grocholski was 4-for-8 on three-pointers and scored 16 points vs. NDSU, her highest total in eight games. C Sophie Hart has scored in double figures in two games since her return from injury, with 24 points on 11-for-18 shooting across both games. Mallory Heyer had her sixth double-double of the season (13 points, 12 rebounds) vs. NDSU. ... Wyoming has six international players. Junior center Allyson Fertig leads the Cowgirls in scoring (14.1) and rebounding (8.3). Malene Pedersen, from Denmark, averages 11.1 points.

Forecast: Nebraska is the only common opponent between these teams. The Gophers beat the Huskers by four points when their roster was healthy on Jan. 14, but lost by 19 on Feb. 24. That is the same margin by which the Cowgirls lost to Nebraska on Nov. 10. This should be a close game made more difficult without Braun. To win, the Gophers need to avoid the nearly quarter-long lull they had against North Dakota State.