Virginia, Liberty await gophers at Cav Classic

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota (3-1, 0-0 B1G) will face their first Power 5 opponent in Virginia (5-0, 1-0 ACC) at the 2022 Cav Classic in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. November 26th. The Gophers then take on the Liberty Flames (2-1, 0-0 ASUN) on Sunday, November 27 in Charlottesville. Both games can be viewed on ACCNX and heard in conversation with Tanner Hoops and Lynette Sjoquist on KFAN+ or on the iHeartRadio app.

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA GAME

  • Minnesota’s matchup with Virginia will be the sixth between the two programs, with the final meeting taking place at Williams Arena in 2012, resulting in a 90-68 win for the Cavaliers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
  • Minnesota is tied 29-18 overall against the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Lindsay Walen holds a 4-1 coaching record.
  • Virginia came off a 62-41 game against Campbell on Wednesday, November 23.
  • Virginia was selected to place 11th in the ACC Presesaon Poll.
  • The Cavaliers already have more wins than last season, 6-0 after finishing just 5-22 (2-14 ACC) in 2021-22. Virginia fell to Wake Forest 61-53 in the opening round of the ACC tournament.
  • Virginia’s Alexia Smith played two seasons for the Gophers before joining the Cavs. In five games and one start this season, Smith is averaging 5.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and shooting 40 percent from the field.
  • Graduate forward Sam Brunelle was added to the preseason watchlist for the 2023 Katrina McClain Award. The annual award recognizes the top power forwards in NCAA Division I women’s college basketball.

ABOUT THE LIBERTY GAME

  • Sunday’s neutral ground matchup with the Flames will mark only the second time the Gophers have faced Liberty.
  • The game for the Flames will be Liberty’s third game in five days after falling 67-63 to James Madison on Nov. 23 and facing East Carolina on Nov. 26.
  • Liberty was selected second in the ASUN Presesaon Poll. Both Mya Berkman and Dee Brown were selected as the preseason all-conference.
  • Berkman is the team’s top scorer (12.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.5) and has an outstanding 77.3 percent shooting from the floor.
  • Emma Hess is ranked 24th in the nation this season with 3 points per game at 3.0.
  • Last season, Liberty was 28-5 (14-2 ASUN) and failed in the semifinals of the ASUN tournament and reached the second round of the WNIT tournament before losing 71-45 to Vanderbilt.

GOPHER-NOTABLES

  • Last time out, Maroon and Gold rallied at home to Presbyterian (2-3, 0-0 Big South) with an 82-48 win over Blue Hose. Alanna ‘Rose’ Micheaux and Mallory Heyer both finished the win with double-doubles, with Heyer scoring 19 in the 34-point win. Overall, the Golden Gophers grabbed 43 points and 34 rebounds from their post players in the dominant win and a season-high 52 points in the paint.
  • Minnesota Mallory Heyer joined Mara Brown named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after their performances against NDSU and Presbyterian. Heyer averaged 14.5 points and 9.0 rebounds last week while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (14 of 21).
  • student in the first year Amaya battle has continued to fill the stats for the Gophers this season, with the rookie finishing in the top 11 in four different categories in the Big Ten conference while coming off the bench. As of November 23, Battle ranks 6th in assists per game (5.0), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3), ninth in blocks per game (1.5 ) and 11th in steals per game (2.3).
  • After starting her first game in 1,833 days (November 10, 2017) against North Dakota State for injury Mara Brown, Mi’ Cole Cayton made their second straight start against Presbyterian. Prior to the NDSU game, Cayton’s last start was with Cal in the opening game of the 2017-18 season.
  • In four games, the Gophers were dominant on the glass, with the team ranking #1 in the Big Ten with 49.5 rebounds per game and also leading in offensive rebounds per game with 18.0. Alanna ‘Rose’ Micheaux is the team’s leader with 9.5 rebounds per game and 4.0 offensive boards per contest, which earned her third and second places in the conference, respectively.
  • Minnesota head coach Lindsay Walen announced on November 16 the addition of five student-athletes who have signed national letters of intent or acceptance of admission to participate in Minnesota’s women’s basketball program for the 2023-24 season. Signing NLIs with the Golden Gophers are Kennedy Klick, MyKynnlie Dalan, Ajok Madol and Dominika Paurová, while Brynn Senden signed an acceptance letter.

BY NUMBERS
57 – Minnesota’s freshmen have averaged 57.9 points per game this season, with Braun (21.3) leading the way.
22 – Under Lindsay Walen Maroon and Gold hold a record of 22-1 when scoring 80 or more points in a game.
1 – True newbie Mallory Heyer leads all Big Ten freshmen in rebounds per game with 7.5, which ranks seventh overall in the conference.
50 – The Golden Gophers have had 50 or more rebounds in all three wins this season.
49 – The Maroon and Gold will look to get off to a quick start this weekend with the head coach Lindsay Walen holds a 49-15 record when leading after the first quarter.

The University of Minnesota will have a quick turnaround next week when Wake Forest comes to Williams Arena for the 2022 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game begins at 7 p.m. and marks the first time fans will be able to watch the Gophers on the Big Ten Network, with the game also being broadcast on KFAN+ and the iHeartRadio app.

For more information about the Gophers, continue to visit GopherSports.com. Keep up to date with University of Minnesota women’s basketball on Twitter and Instagram (@GopherWBB) and on Facebook so you don’t miss any content during the 2022-23 season.

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