Gophers set for foreign trip to Italy

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

For just the second time in program history, the Minnesota women’s basketball team is embarking on a foreign trip as it is scheduled to travel to Italy, August 8-16.

Per NCAA rules, college teams are allowed to make an international trip once every four years. Additionally, the team is allotted an extra 10 practices in preparation for the tip.

“Taking a once in a lifetime trip as a team to Italy is something that we are all so thankful for,” Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen said. “We know how lucky we are to be taking this trip, and we look forward to making memories that will last a lifetime.

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“On the court, our preparations for this trip have allowed us coaches, as a new staff, to start to implement our system and our playing style. For us it will be great to get to evaluate our team in game situations as we start to prepare for the 2018-19 season. We look forward to taking great strides as a team both on and off the court in our European trip to Italy.”

The golden Gophers’ initial trip abroad came in 2008 with a visit to Italy. Ten years later, they’re returning for a nine-day trek across three major cities that will see Minnesota play three games against international competition.

The team will depart for Rome on Wednesday,  with its first game taking place on Friday evening. In between, planned highlights include a walking tour of local sights and a visit to Vatican City.

Saturday’s schedule includes a tour of the Colosseum before traveling to Florence where the team will face German squad TK Hannover Sunday night. While in Florence, the Gophers are also planning to see the Accademia Gallery which is home to Michelangelo’s “David.”

The final stop on the trip has the squad travel to Venice on Tuesday for a matchup with Italian Select that night. The team will then have one final day in Venice on Wednesday before returning to the United States on Thursday.

The Golden Gophers return nine letterwinners from last year’s team that went 24-9 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition, the team welcomes four newcomers for the 2018-19 season.