Minnesota beats Michigan 73-49

The Gophers held their sixth opponent in seven games below 50 points Thursday.

by David McCoy

Scoring four times the amount of points as your opponent to begin a game is usually an indicator of a successful night ahead.

This was no different.

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team outscored Michigan 16-4 at the outset of Thursday night’s game at Williams Arena, leading by as many as 27 points before beating the Wolverines 73-49 in front of a crowd of 7,619.

Minnesota (15-3, 5-1) shot more than 50 percent from the field for just the second time in seven games, while holding a team under 50 points for the sixth time in seven games and 10th time this season.

The victory provided the Gophers with the rebound they were looking for from Sunday’s demoralizing second-half collapse at Michigan State.

“We followed the game plan very well tonight,” Borton said. “Our game plan was score in the paint using our size advantage. I feel like now our team is back on track for the most part.”

Minnesota’s size inside was a huge benefit, as its post players combined for 49 points – good enough for a tie by themselves.

The Gophers used a 9-3 run midway through the first half to take their biggest lead of the game at the time at 31-12.

During that run, all but one of Minnesota’s baskets were scored by a post player – Janel McCarville or Jamie Broback.

“We kind of exploited them,” McCarville said.

Michigan then battled back, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 36-22 at the half.

But the Gophers opened the second half with a 14-4 run and continued their dominance by shooting 12-of-21 in the half.

By contrast, Michigan shot just 19-of-49 for the game.

Minnesota’s return to defensive proficiency was in large part because of defensive stopper Shannon Bolden.

Bolden held Wolverines senior Tabitha Pool to just eight points. It was the first time Pool, who came in averaging twice that at 16.9 points per game, was held below double figures all season.

“On the defensive end, I just wanted to make her work for everything she got,” Bolden said. “With anybody I’ve got, I just try to pressure them a lot and make sure they don’t get any free looks at the basket.”

Most of Michigan’s production came from center Ta’Shia Walker, who led the team with 14 points.

But McCarville made Walker look mismatched defensively, showing the 6-foot freshman a thing or two while being the biggest reason for Minnesota’s high shooting percentage.

McCarville scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

She also nabbed six steals -making her the biggest reason for the Gophers’ return to solid defense as well.