Gophers athletes receive honors

It was a busy day in sports at the U of M Monday. Most of the news was good, but read more to find out what hockey player will be out of the lineup for a while, and to find out how you can watch the Gophers men's hoops team for free.

The top-ranked Gophers hockey team got some good news and some bad news Monday.

Which do you want first?

The good news is that the WCHA announced that Natalie Darwitz has been named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for her performance against Wisconsin this past weekend.

The bad news is that forward and senior co-captain Kelsey Bills suffered a left ankle fracture in Sunday's game against Wisconsin. Bills, a Carstairs, Alberta, native, will undergo surgery Wednesday and will be out of the Minnesota lineup for a minimum of 12 weeks.

As for Darwitz, she only seems to be getting better, which seems almost impossible, as good as she already is.

Darwitz scored two power-play goals and added a power-play assist on Saturday, helping the No. 1 Gopher women's hockey team to a 3-0 win over the Badgers. She followed her Saturday performance with two assists for five points and a series sweep over No. 6 Wisconsin.

Of her five points on the weekend, Darwitz tallied four on the power play. Darwitz's final assist of the weekend was dishing out a pass to La Toya Clarke for an empty-net goal.

A 2003 first-team All-American, Darwitz leads the team with nine points in four games played and is also in a three-way tie for the lead in WCHA scoring.

A member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team, Darwitz continued her scoring streak, now set at 19 straight games. She ended the 2002-03 campaign with 26 points in 15 consecutive games and continued her scoring with nine points this season.

The Gophers will take on WCHA opponent St. Cloud State, Friday and Saturday at Ridder Arena. Friday's game is scheduled for a 4:05 p.m. start, while Saturday's tilt is a 2:05 p.m. contest.

Gopher Volleyball Star Honored; Team Moves Up In Polls

The Gophers women's hockey team may be the hottest team on the U of M campus, but the women's volleyball team is not far behind.

Monday senior hitter Cassie Busse was named AVCA National Player of the Week. It marks the first time in her career that Busse has received national player of the week honors and is only the fourth time in the history of the program that a Minnesota player has been named AVCA National Player of the Week.

This past weekend Busse became only the seventh player in the history of the program to record 30 kills in a match with 30 against No. 22 Michigan State on Oct. 25. It was the first time since Nicole Branagh had 31 kills on Dec. 2, 2000 against Arizona State that a Minnesota player had a 30-kill match. Busse also hit .591 (30-4-44), tied with a match-high 14 digs, had four blocks and two service aces against the Spartans. The previous night Busse had recorded what was then a career-high 27 kills against Michigan. In the two matches, Busse had 57 kills, averaged 7.12 kpg, 2.88 dpg, hit .411 and had 0.75 blocks per game.

Busse's 57 kills on the week also moved her to No. 8 on the Minnesota career kills list. She enters this week with 1,264 career kills.

Minnesota will host Iowa in a midweek match on Wednesday at 7 p.m.. The Gophers will then take on No. 20 Wisconsin on Friday at 7 p.m. That match will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports Net North on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Gopher Basketball Team to Hold Free Scrimmage

The Golden Gopher men's basketball team will hold a scrimmage open to the public at 10 a.m., this Saturday, Nov. 1, at Williams Arena. The intrasquad scrimmage will be free and open to the public.

Following the scrimmage, the U will provide free shuttles to the Gophers football game beginning at 11:30 a.m. Shuttles will pick up just outside Williams Arena in front of the McNamara Alumni Center. For more information, call the Gopher Ticket Office at 612.624.8080.

Gophers Hockey Team Falls in Polls

The U men's hockey team is off to a 1-3 start, and is slowly moving down in the polls. The Gophers are now ranked No. 10 in the poll and No. 12 in the USA TODAY/American Hockey Magazine poll. Maine is No. 1 in both polls, and North Dakota is No. 2.

Gopher Football Game Against Wisconsin Televised on ESPN

ESPN announced Monday that the Gophers Wisconsin football game at the Metrodome Saturday, Nov. 8, will be televised by ESPN at 11 a.m. (CST).

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