Broback keys second-half run as Gophers stop slide

Emily Wickstrom

Minnesota’s women’s basketball coach Pam Borton said she had no doubt her team was going to win Thursday.

The Gophers (18-8, 10-5 Big Ten) didn’t disappoint, snapping their four-game losing streak by defeating Indiana 65-58 on Thursday at Williams Arena in front of an announced crowd of 6,659.

“I felt extremely confident in our team and in our players that we wanted this game,” Borton said. “It didn’t really matter who we played tonight, it was just about us.”

Junior forward Jamie Broback led Minnesota with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

The Gophers were up 12-6 early on, but had multiple starters in foul trouble for the second-straight game, forcing Borton to turn to her bench players.

Broback, Natasha Williams and Shannon Bolden all sat for extended minutes in the first half with two fouls apiece.

With Broback on the bench, Minnesota went on a scoring drought for more than six minutes and gave away their lead.

“We can’t have (Broback) sitting,” Borton said. “She’s too important to our team Ö we’ve got to have other people step up, but we’ve got to keep her on the floor.”

The Hoosiers (18-8, 10-5 Big Ten) were down 26-22 at halftime, but scored the first five points of the second half to take a 27-26 lead.

But from that point on it was almost all Minnesota, outscoring Indiana 30-13 over an 11-minute stretch.

Back-to-back three pointers by Shannon Schonrock and Broback pushed the Gophers’ lead to 56-40 ‘ their biggest lead of the game ‘ with just more than eight minutes left.

“We came in here on a mission and we weren’t going to settle for anything but a win,” Schonrock said. “We were constantly reminding each other that we had to lay it all on the court tonight and play with our whole heart.”

Minnesota tied its season-high with 10 three-pointers made. Four players had at least two apiece.

Senior guard April Calhoun, after losing her starting spot to Kelly Roysland two games ago, returned with 12 points and five assists.

“That’s what (Calhoun) brings to our team is hard work, grit, diving on the floor and making huge plays,” Borton said. “It gets contagious and runs through our team.”

Roysland added 11 points while Schonrock had nine, all on threes.

Hoosiers guard Cyndi Valentin, the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, was held below her 19-point average to just nine points.

And with that, the Gophers ended their skid and now are poised to improve their position in the conference.

With a victory against Northwestern in Sunday’s regular season finale, Minnesota will clinch a third-place seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

“Tonight’s game was a test for all of us,” Calhoun said. “We knew we had to find our identity as a team Ö everyone was just dedicated to turning things around.”