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NCAA Women's Tournament Bracket: Minnesota Golden Gophers

You'd think it'd be *hard* to get past the loss of Rachel Banham, right?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Who? The Golden Gophers of Minnesota. Just to confuse everyone, Minnesota fans call it The U.

When do they play in the first round? The Gophers will play DePaul on Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m. ET.

What Derived from a political cartoon, though I'm not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing.

Where? Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the street signs indicate plowing priority.

Why? Good RPI, good record.

How? They were an at-large selection.

Surprise? I don't think anyone expected Minnesota to rise up like this without Rachel Banham, staying in sixth, seven games behind Maryland.

RPI: 44

SOS: 67

Record: 24-7 (14-4 Big Ten)

Good wins: At Ohio State.

Bad losses: Vanderbilt in Fort Myers.

Who's in charge around here? Marlene Stollings, since 2014, last seen at VCU (and thanks to the folks at the Daily Gopher for catching me in an anachronism, I swear I knew Borton was shown the door, I swear I am not that oblivious)

Extra, Extra! The Pioneer Press and The Star-Tribune.

Sophomore center Amanda Zahui B. has a name made for headlines and a game that gets her them. She's taken over the superstar role for the Golden Gophers, at 18.8 points on 55.3% shooting, 12.6 rebounds, and 4.2 blocks. She's wonderful to watch, and surprisingly light on her feet for a broad-framed, bruising center.

But she hasn't been the only one to step up after the torn ACL of senior super scorer Rachel Banham. Graduate student Shae Kelley, a former one-woman show at Old Dominion, has complemented Zahui well in the post, at 17.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. Freshman guard Carlie Wagner has taken over the perimeter duties, while junior guard Shayne Mullaney has run the offense well, at 7.4 assists per game.

But Zahui can get herself in foul trouble, and when it's win or go home, you need your superstar on the court, or you need everyone around her to step up. Minnesota's already stepping up- do these Gophers have another gear in them if Zahui is unavailable for stretches?