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Kelley, Gopher Women Ready For NCAA Tourney

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Gopher women's basketball team believes now that they are in the dance, why not win some games?

The reason they have a chance against DePaul and beyond is a new addition, who may have made it all possible.

There has already been enough to celebrate. That comes with a season where you make the NCAA Tournament.

In the men's game, they talk about one-and-done players, who come in for just their freshman season and then depart for the NBA.

The Minnesota women's team has their own version of a one-and-done player – but she came for her final season.

Forward Shae Kelley transferred from Old Dominion, and she found the Big Ten is, well, a little bigger.

"The physicality and the girls are maybe a little thicker (laughs), a little taller," Kelley said.

She adjusted and gave this team a boost that may have been the biggest catalyst of a season filled with transitions.

"We don't have Shae Kelley, I don't think we're standing here right now, in particular with Rachel (Banham) going down," Coach Marlene Stollings said. "I think she's meant a lot."

And now the final goal is a trip to the NCAA Tournament which Kelley coveted, which is why she moved to Minnesota.

"Just the feeling is kind of surreal, that we're actually here and we're not, you know, at home and sitting down watching someone else play," Kelley said. "We're actually, you know, have to practice and keep up our conditioning and everything like that because we're going to the dance."

The Gophers face DePaul Friday in Indiana at 4 p.m.

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