Late run gives women’s hoops win at Northwestern

On the strength of a 10-3 run over the final two minutes, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team escaped with an 86-78 victory at Northwestern on Sunday.

The No. 18 Gophers (19-4, 9-3 Big Ten) were led by guard Lindsay Whalen’s 22 points and seven assists.

“Northwestern played inspired,” coach Brenda Oldfield said. “They played with enthusiasm and were motivated. We did not show a lot of consistency.”

Northwestern (4-19, 0-12) took its final lead with 6:49 left on two of freshman center Sarah Kwasinski’s team-high 22 points.

But Oldfield said the Gophers “woke up” from then on, sealing their third consecutive Big Ten road victory for the first time since 1993-94.

Minnesota’s Janel McCarville and Kim Prince each netted 16 points. McCarville added eight rebounds and four assists.

The difference in the game was from the free throw line where Minnesota made more shots (20) than Northwestern attempted (16).

Minnesota’s in sole possession of second place following Penn State’s 96-81 loss at Iowa.

Swimming and diving

In its last tune-up before the Big Ten championships, the Minnesota men’s swimming and diving team dominated the Minnesota Challenge over the weekend.

Senior Chad Krastins led the Gophers to the top nine spots in the 200-yard butterfly, and Minnesota took at least the top four spots in three other events.

Sophomore Justin Mortimer won three events, taking first-place honors in the 1650-, 200- and 100-yard freestyle events.

Coach Dennis Dale was optimistic about his team’s chances to repeat as Big Ten champions.

“It’s going to be an all-out war with Michigan,” Dale said. “We know they will have a much better first day, so we won’t be ahead from the get-go, but hopefully we can overtake them the second day, and make it a war on the third day.”

The Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team was also dominant in the Minnesota Challenge, winning 19 of the weekend’s 20 events.

Sophomore Megan Moore led the Gophers with victories in the 100-yard freestyle and backstroke and swam on Minnesota’s winning 200-yard medley and freestyle relay teams.

Junior Dana Baum won the 50-yard freestyle and finished third in the 100-yard backstroke. Senior Kristin Rygg won the 200- and 1650-yard freestyle events.

The Gophers took the top five spots in one-meter diving. Junior Kim Bahmer led Minnesota with a victory in three-meter diving and a second-place finish in one-meter diving.

“Our strength all season has been in the middle distances,” coach Jean Freeman said. “What we’re looking for in the last two weeks is for our sprinters to come alive. The middle of the conference is pretty tight, so we’ll definitely be looking to move up at the Big Ten championships.”

Women’s hockey

Minnesota’s women’s hockey team added two more victories to its record 24-game unbeaten streak with a sweep at Ohio State this weekend.

The top-ranked Gophers (23-2-5, 16-1-3 WCHA) beat the eighth-ranked Buckeyes (13-11-4, 7-10-3) 2-1 in overtime on Saturday and 5-0 on Friday.

Riding Saturday’s game into overtime, Minnesota pulled out a dramatic victory. Ronda Curtin scored her third game-winning goal of the season on slap shot with 51 seconds remaining in the extra period.

Minnesota now has a six-point cushion on second-place Minnesota-Duluth in the WCHA standings and can clinch a tie for the regular-season title with two points in the remaining four games.

Women’s track

The Minnesota women’s track and field team broke two school records, one meet record and placed seven women on the school’s top 10 performers list this weekend at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.

Sophomore Tahesia Harrigan broke her second school record of the weekend as she won the 60-meter dash in a time of 7.33 seconds, a Iowa State Classic meet record and the fourth-fastest time in the nation. Harrigan placed second in the 200-meter dash on Friday night with a school record time of 24.20.

Junior Shani Marks crushed the 600-meter dash record by over six seconds with a time of 1:23.97 to place third in the event.

Men’s track

Minnesota men’s track and field team broke three school records and set three NCAA provisional qualifying marks at the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa.

The Gophers’ undefeated 4×400-meter relay team – Mikael Jakobsson, Andy Wohlin, Adam Steele and Mitch Potter – ran a 3:06.96, the fastest time in the nation this year.

The Gophers broke three school records this weekend, led by senior Brian Meyer who shattered the 600-meter record by almost four seconds in placing fourth.