Gophers lose by 20 to Hawkeyes

U struggles throughout en route to road loss

by Dan Miller

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Facing huge first half deficits was something Minnesota’s women’s basketball team hasn’t feared as much in the past.

But Thursday night, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder illuminated the Gophers’ new reality.

“(Lindsay) Whalen could bail them out of almost any situation but tonight there wasn’t anyone to bail them out,” she said.

The Gophers (19-5, 8-5 Big Ten), who beat Illinois last Sunday without Whalen, their injured leading scorer, missed her average 20 points a game in a 81-61 loss to Hawkeyes in Iowa City, Iowa.

In the closing seconds of the first half, Minnesota passed the ball around looking for a shot. The Haweyes’ defenders tipped two of their passes until finally freshman Jamie Broback took a hurried deep shot that missed the basket completely.

This sequence summed up the first half and the game as the Gophers were unable to recover from a ragged first half that ended in a 40-22 Hawkeyes’ lead.

Janel McCarville scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first half and Jamie Broback added 10 points for the Gophers.

“We talk about throwing the first punch,” Minnesota guard Shannon Schonrock said. “Tonight they threw it and kept throwing it.”

Minnesota was held to 22 points and 39.1 percent shooting in the half and turned the ball over 13 times.

The Gophers didn’t waste any time digging themselves into a hole as they committed seven fouls in the first 5:37 of the game and put the Buckeyes into the bonus with 14:23 left in the first half.

McCarville couldn’t play as many minutes as the Gophers wanted, picking up her second foul only 3:25 into the game on a charge.

She sat out while the Hawkeyes went inside and built their first half lead from which the Gophers’ couldn’t recover.

Iowa’s Kristi Faulkner scored 13 of her 22 points in the first half and was two-for-two from three-point land.

After freshman Kelly Roysland made a three-pointer on the Gophers’ second possession and McCarville scored inside, Iowa took over.

Faulkner completed a three-point play that sparked a 17-4 Hawkeyes run capped by Tiffany Reedy who pushed the scored to 24-9 with 9:05 left in the half.

The Haweyes then hit back-to-back three-pointers that pushed the lead to 32-11 with 6:22 on the clock.

Kadidja Andersson and Broback gave the Gophers a minirun to close the half combining for nine points in the closing four minutes.

Minnesota’s Shannon Bolden cut the lead to 15 on a breakaway layup in the opening minutes of the second half, but that was as close as the Gophers would get.

Iowa then went on another run pushing the lead 51-31 on a Faulkner basket with 14:53 to play.

“They came out with their guns firing,” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “Their pressure right from the beginning threw us off our game.”