Gophers lose in Big Ten tourney quarterfinals

Minnesota dropped a tough one to Iowa and hurt its NCAA tournament chances

After its 61-50 loss to Illinois in the regular season finale, Minnesota coach Pam Borton said her team put itself in position to possibly miss the NCAA tournament without a win at the Big Ten tournament on Friday. The Gophers held tight with Iowa early on in pursuit of that crucial win, but the Hawkeyes deadly 3-point shooting might have put the nail in the coffin for MinnesotaâÄôs hopes of making the NCAA tournament in their 79-64 win over Minnesota at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. While the Gophers may have needed a standout performance from senior Emily Fox to pick up the win, it was Iowa senior Wendy Ausdemore who stood out to instead lead the Hawkeyes to the quarterfinal victory. Averaging 12 points per game this season, Ausdemore broke out against Minnesota and was a tough inside-outside matchup. The senior forward scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while hauling in seven rebounds. Juniors Brittany McCoy and Ashley Ellis-Milan led the way for the Gophers with 15 points a-piece, while Fox scored 13. Minnesota and Iowa traded baskets in the first seven minutes of the game, with a tie game at 17-17 after a McCoy 3-pointer with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. But after that point the Hawkeyes would start hitting their outside shots to finish the half up 44-34. Fox cut the lead to eight points with just over six minutes left in the game, but only a minute later Ausdemore hit another of her four 3-pointers to slow MinnesotaâÄôs momentum. The Gophers still have a chance to make the final cut on NCAA tournament selection day next week, but after the loss to Iowa their chances got much slimmer.