Gopher Women BB Team Faces #1 LSU

The Minnesota women's basketball team faces consensus #1 LSU Tuesday night at home. The game matches two Final Four teams from a year ago and will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and tips off at 6 p.m.

Minnesota is currently ranked #13 in this week's Associated Press poll and is off to an 8-1 start this season. LSU is undefeated, winning all eight contests. The game features two National Player of the Year Candidates in Minnesota's Janel McCarville and LSU's Seimone Augustus.

Minnesota's defense is allowing 53.9 points per game this season and just 43.0 points per game in the Gophers' last four games. The Gopher "D" is holding opponents to 36.0 percent shooting from the field, including four games where opposing teams shot less than 30 percent from the floor.

Minnesota has played a No. 1 ranked team just once in its history but it was a successful venture, an 82-75 victory over top-ranked Duke in last season's NCAA Mideast Region final in Norfolk, Va. The highest ranked team the Gophers have faced in Williams Arena is Penn State on Feb. 8, 2004. Minnesota defeated No. 5 Penn State, 74-56, in that game.

Minnesota has hosted an ESPN-broadcasted game in each of the last three seasons and own a perfect 4-0 record in those contests. The Gophers defeated No. 7/9 Purdue (73-64) on Feb. 14, 2002, No. 12/13 Penn State (73-57) on Feb. 23, 2003, unranked UCLA (92-81) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 21, 2004; and No. 8/9 Kansas State (80-61) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 23, 2004. If a win over South Carolina (63-53) on Jan. 3, 2004 carried on CBS is included, Minnesota is 5-0 in national TV broadcasts at home.

The Golden Gophers have won 23 consecutive regular-season non-conference home games, a streak that is now into its fifth season and dates back to the days when Minnesota played in the Sports Pavilion. The streak in Williams Arena coincides with that of Pam Borton's coaching tenure with the Gophers and stands at 12 games. The last non-conference regular-season home game the Gophers lost was to Ball State in the opening game of the 1999-2000 season.

LSU is the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Lady Tigers, who haven't played since a 77-51 win over North Texas on Nov. 30, are off to a perfect 8-0 start to the season. LSU has wins over two nationally ranked teams: Baylor (71-70) and Maryland (64-51). Junior Seimone Augustus is the player to watch in the Tiger lineup. She leads the team in scoring at 20.9 points per game and has taken 55 more shots this season than her closest teammate. Freshman center Sylvia Fowles has made a big impact early in her career, averaging 13.0 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds an outing. Senior point guard Temeka Johnson dishes out 5.5 assists per game. Overall, the Lady Tigers have been impressive defensively, allowing just 50.8 points a game while scoring 72.2. LSU has pressured its opponents into averaging 22.6 turnovers per game.

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