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Back to the basics

Tulane next for Gophers women

Knight-Ridder Newspapers

MINNEAPOLIS -- The; start of spring break Monday at the University of Minnesota came at a good time for the Gophers women's basketball coaching staff. With no classes this week and no tests to study for, the coaches have the players' undivided attention going into Saturday night's first-round NCAA tournament game against Tulane in Palo Alto, Calif.

The game airs at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

"They're yelling a lot more, getting in your face a little bit,'' center Janel McCarville said of coach Pam Borton and her assistants. "They're definitely more intense. This is the time where they're not going to settle for anything less than our best effort.''

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Ten days have passed since the Gophers' passive performance against Iowa in the Big Ten Conference tournament. The coaching staff has used the extra practice time to recharge the team and work on areas that contributed to the 80-77 loss to Iowa and a disappointing sixth seed in the West Regional, specifically defense and intensity.

"Today was one of the best practices we've had all year,'' Borton said. "We're mainly working on our toughness, rebounding and defense. We're sending the kids a message that this is what it's going to take to win in the (NCAA) tournament.''

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