Cold shooting dooms Gophers

Minnesota fell to Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

by Aleutian Calabay

The Gophers womenâÄôs basketball shooting continues to trend like the Minnesota weather, turning from cold to outright freezing. The Gophers fell to No. 22 Maryland on Thursday night 66-45 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, shooting just 27 percent from the field. âÄúIt wasnâÄôt that we didnâÄôt have effort; it was that we didnâÄôt have toughness,âÄù Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWe werenâÄôt real tough and we didnâÄôt make shots, and thatâÄôs what it boiled down to. We had good looks within our offense, but we just couldnâÄôt finish layups and we just missed a lot of wide open shots.âÄù Minnesota was led by sophomore Jackie Voigt, who finished with a team-high 10 points. Sophomore Kiara Buford had 9 points on the night, and seniors Brittany McCoy and Ashley Ellis-Milan both added 8. Ellis-Milan had a game-high eight rebounds as well. Maryland sophomore Kim Rodgers had a game-high 14 points for the Terrapins. The Gophers had been receiving terrific production off the bench so far this season, but saw little help from their non-starters against Maryland. The Minnesota bench scored a total of just 6 points, all of which came in the closing minutes when the game was well out of reach. Despite the poor offensive production, the Gophers still had a solid night defensively, holding a Maryland team that had averaged 79.8 points per game to 66. Minnesota also forced 13 turnovers while committing just 12. The Gophers took an early 7-0 lead to start the game and held a small lead through most of the first half. But a 16-6 run by Maryland gave the Terrapins a 31-22 half time lead. A jumper by Ellis-Milan pulled Minnesota to within 8 points early in the second half. Maryland, however, responded by going on a 10-4 run, and then continually pulled away from there. The matchup against Maryland was the first time the Gophers had faced former head coach Brenda Frese. Frese (then Oldfield) is remembered for her one-year tenure as Minnesota coach, in the 2001-02 season in which she turned around a Gophers team that was just 8-20 the season before, to a team that produced a 22-8 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. Frese was honored that season as Associated Press National Coach of the Year. She then left after just one season with Minnesota to take the helm at Maryland, where she led the Terrapins to a National Championship in 2006. Minnesota now moves on to face Penn State in its Big Ten season opener on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Williams Arena. âÄúWeâÄôre going to have to be real prepared and ready to go on Sunday,âÄù Borton said. âÄúItâÄôs the biggest game of the season, and itâÄôs the first Big Ten game, and itâÄôs a must-win game for us. We need to figure out ways to be a lot more consistent in a lot of different areas. WeâÄôre just going to keep chipping away and hopefully we can continue getting better as we head into December.âÄù