Gophers win Subway classic title

Chalk up what coach Pam Borton called âÄúhopefully the first of many championships this year.âÄù The Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team proved to be the dominant team at home in the Subway Classic this weekend, knocking off American University 79-62 and Yale 87-63. The Gophers (4-1 overall) received help from many different players throughout the two-game weekend, one in which 11 different Gophers saw time. Freshman guard Kiara Buford provided more than just a spark off the bench for the Gophers against American (3-1), as she came in to score seven consecutive points midway through the first half, helping to turn a 13-12 lead into a 26-12 lead. Buford had nine of the 13 points on that run, and finished with 22 points, becoming the first freshman to score 20 points since Janel McCarville in January of 2002. Buford said she wasnâÄôt expecting to take on such a large offensive role in the game. âÄúI was thinking defense first,âÄù she said. âÄúI just wanted to focus on defense and go from there.âÄù American didnâÄôt fade away however, as the Eagles found success with a double-team trap, forced three consecutive turnovers, and closed the gap to five late in the half. Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and out-rebounded American 25-15 to lead 40-33 at the half. American attempted to stick with the Gophers in the second half, but by the midway point, Minnesota had opened up a double-digit lead, and didnâÄôt give it up. Junior guard Brittany McCoy recorded her first career double-double, scoring 10 points and distributing the ball well to collect 12 assists. McCoy added eight rebounds as well, just missing MinnesotaâÄôs first triple-double since McCarville posted one in 2004. The Gophers also forced 10 turnovers in the second half, and held American scoreless for six minutes late in the second period, allowing Minnesota to cruise to the 17-point win. âÄúWe knew coming in that American was going to be a run-and-gun team, and we were kind of excited about that because we like to run too,âÄù senior guard Emily Fox said. âÄúI thought we did a great job running with them and controlling the tempo.âÄù In the championship game, Yale (2-2) executed well offensively in the first half, shooting 48 percent from the field to pull to within one of Minnesota at the half, 35-34. Fox and senior guard Kay Sylva led the Gophers in the half, scoring eight points each to keep Minnesota in the game, and both players came out strong in the second half, as the Gophers turned a tight game into a route. Minnesota opened the second half hitting seven of its first 10 shots, pushing the lead to double digits within five minutes. âÄúAt halftime, coach Borton told us, weâÄôre lucky to be winning after the way we played,âÄù Fox said. âÄúWe didnâÄôt come out with intensity on defense, so we stressed that in the second half, and that led to a big run.âÄù Minnesota held Yale to 34 percent shooting in the second half, and pushed the lead to 20 with five minutes remaining to close out the game. Fox led the team with 17 points, while freshman forward Jackie Voigt and junior guard Katie Ohm each added 15. Sylva finished with 12 points on 6-7 shooting. âÄúWe came out in the second half and played with a lot of emotion,âÄù Borton said. âÄúWeâÄôre very fortunate to come out with a win after that first half, but weâÄôre pleased with our two wins over the weekend.âÄù