After tough loss to Tech, Gophers rebound Sunday

Emily Fox scored 30 points, but Virginia Tech came away with the 68-62 win.

The Minnesota women’s basketball team might have missed an opportunity to sweep another nonconference weekend, but they still came away with another strong showing.

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what: Women’s basketball
when: 12 p.m., Saturday
where: Williams Arena

The Gophers (8-2 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) lost a close game at Virginia Tech Friday, 62-68, but came back strong Sunday at Charlotte to collect an impressive 80-66 win.

“I thought we ended the weekend well, but we went to Virginia Tech and we let that game slip away,” sophomore center Zoe Harper said. “It’s hard to come back after a loss, but we didn’t let that affect us, and won at Charlotte.”

Minnesota started the weekend against a very quick Virginia Tech squad, but did a good job of keeping the Hokies from controlling the game through turnovers and quick baskets.

The Gophers played strong through the game, playing to a 33-33 tie after the first half. Junior guard Emily Fox scored 15 points in the half, including 3-3 shooting from beyond the arc to be the high point for the team.

But there was a low point in the half as well, as sophomore forward Ashley Ellis-Milan went down with a shoulder injury and didn’t return to the game.

“It hurt us a lot not to have Ashley in the game,” coach Pam Borton said. “But we stuck around and were still in the game until about 24 seconds left in the second half.”

In Ellis-Milan’s absence, Harper came in and contributed 14 points throughout the course of the game, but Minnesota got very little production from three key components of its offense, as senior forward Leslie Knight and sophomore guards Brittany McCoy and Katie Ohm combined to shoot 2-25 from the field.

Fox tried to keep the Gophers in the game in the second half, finishing off her 30-point night, but a lack of balance from a generally well-balanced offensive team proved to be too costly.

The Hokies (6-1, 0-0 ACC) hit nine of 10 free throws down the stretch, leading to Minnesota’s second loss of the season, 62-68.

“We can’t rely on Emily so much, it needs to be more of a team effort if we’re going to win,” Ohm said. “I think we executed much better Sunday, and played very well overall.”

The Gophers turned things around in Charlotte on Sunday, as the balanced offense returned. Five players scored double figures as Minnesota cruised past the 49ers 80-66.

Charlotte (3-6, 0-0 Atlantic Ten) fell behind early, as the Gophers jumped out to a 42-28 first half-lead on the back of sophomore forward Korinne Campbell’s 15 first-half points and eight rebounds. Minnesota shot 56 percent in the first half, while holding the 49ers to under 28 percent.

Charlotte made a slight run in the second half to pull to within six points, but Minnesota maintained control of the game, as Ellis-Milan put up 11 points and Ohm added 14 to solidify the 80-66 win.

“They went on a little run, but we just had to pull together on defense and then we were fine,” Ohm said. “We can’t trade baskets, or give them a couple of points and not get anything on our end.”

On the heels of a 30-point performance, Fox took just six shots, scoring 11 points while picking up seven assists.