Sun gives Gophers little warmth

Most Gopher fans can remember a day when nobody associated with the program would be disappointed with any bowl berth. But Glen Mason's squad can't be too thrilled about heading back to El Paso. Also, the women's hoopsters keep rolling, and the volleyball team plans for a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

The Gopher football team had every reason to believe it earned a spot in the more prestigious Alamo Bowl, but the gang from San Antonio went with Michigan State to face Nebraska on Dec. 29.

That leaves the Gophers with another trip to the Sun Bowl for a rematch of their 1999 battle with Oregon. At least Minnesota gets a shot at revenge, after losing to the Ducks 24-20 four years ago.

At 9-3, the Gophers were a game better than Michigan State, but the Spartans beat them head-to-head, 44-38, on Oct. 18 at the Metrodome. The Gophers undoubtedly were hurt by the perception that their fans won't travel to bowl games. A return to El Paso won't likely be a hot ticket, especially for fans who envisioned strolls along San Antonio's Riverwalk as a late December respite from the Minnesota winter.

Mason was unavailable for comment on Sunday, and Alamo Bowl officials wanted to speak with representatives of the Gopher program before discussing their decision to invite Michigan State.

Post players lead Gopher women

Janel McCarville posted her fourth double-double of the season and freshman Liz Podominick added a career-high 14 points as the Minnesota women's basketball team rolled to their seventh straight win, 79-53 over the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

McCarville scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the Gophers (7-0) dominated the boards by a 46-28 margin. Lindsay Whalen chipped in a game-high 19 points and seven assists.

Podominick shot 7-for-11 from the floor in 19 minutes, while fellow freshman Kelly Roysland added 10 points off the bench. Minnesota held the Kangaroos (2-4) to 27 percent shooting in the second half as they expanded a 38-29 halftime lead.

The Gophers have two weeks off and return to action on Dec. 21 against Wisconsin-Green Bay at Williams Arena.

Volleyball regional times set

The Gopher volleyball team, which won twice this weekend to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, will play Friday at 9:30 p.m. CST against No. 4 Pepperdine at Long Beach, Calif.

The Gophers (24-10) are the 13th-ranked team in the country and are seeded fourth in their regional, while the Waves (27-2) are riding a 25-match winning streak. They beat Manhattan and Kansas to reach the regional semifinals.

Stanford and Washington will square off in the first semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. CST Friday.

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