Fox scores 1,000th point as Gophers roll

Minnesota secured the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tourney with a win over Michigan.

The Minnesota women’s basketball team is in a great position for the Big Ten tournament.

With a 63-48 win at Michigan on Sunday, the Gophers locked in the fourth seed for a first round bye. It also handed Michigan State the fifth seed, allowing Minnesota to start the tournament against a team the Gophers had the most success against in this year’s conference play.

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big ten tournament
what: Women’s basketball
when: Time TBA, Thursday through Sunday
where: Indianapolis

Minnesota swept the Spartans with a pair of double-digit wins, and only repeated the 2-0 record against one other Big Ten team in Penn State.

Despite the team’s confidence, sophomore guard Katie Ohm pointed out that beating the same team three times in a year would be a challenge.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a row at any level,” she said. “I have confidence that we can do it, but it’s not going to be an easy game by any means.”

The Gophers clinched the fourth seed thanks in large part to their guard-play, as junior Emily Fox and Ohm scored 17 points apiece to help Minnesota to a 36-21 second-half routing of Michigan.

Fox posted her 1000th-career point, and came up big with seven assists and four steals as well, while Ohm put up 13 second-half points to help the Gophers pull away from the 27-27 tie at halftime.

“We had kind of a slow start in the first half,” Fox said. “But it was nice to see the team pick it up in the second half and pull away. I feel really confident in the way we’re playing right now.”

Michigan’s first-half shooting percentage of 55 fell off the table in the second half, as the Wolverines finished the game shooting 6-of-23, including 1-of-10 from three-point range.

Minnesota had a hand in that, switching to a 2-3 zone, causing Michigan to struggle.

“We changed up defenses quite a bit,” coach Pam Borton said. “We were very active in our 2-3 zone, and we took Michigan out of its comfort zone. We made them take some uncomfortable shots today.”

The Gophers, meanwhile, shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and quickly distanced themselves from the ailing Wolverines, going on an 11-0 run to start the half.

“The first four minutes of the first half were pretty bad for us, so we felt we needed a good start in the second half,” Ohm said. “I think we did that pretty well and put up a lot of points in the second half.”

Senior forward Leslie Knight finished the game with 10 points, as the Gophers had seven players in the scoring column.

Around the league, No. 18 Ohio State grabbed the top seed with a win over Northwestern, and sits opposite Minnesota as the Gophers’ second opponent, should both teams advance.

Iowa tied the Buckeyes’ record to take a share of the regular-season conference title, but lost the tie-breaker to take the second seed.

Purdue took the third seed and will play the winner of Indiana/Northwestern in its first round.

Regardless of how the bracket shaped up, Fox said the Gophers were feeling confident about their chances.

“Like it’s been all year, I think it’s wide open, and anyone can win,” she said. “I think that’s great for us, because we’ve been playing well and I think we have as good a chance as anyone to win this tournament.”