Gophers down Sioux in final exhibition

Liz Podominick and Jamie Broback led the Gophers to the 75-47 win at Williams Arena.

David McCoy

When Minnesota’s women’s basketball season began, sophomore Liz Podominick wasn’t supposed to start at center and Jamie Broback wasn’t supposed to start at all.

A broken bone in the left hand of starting center, and Big Ten preseason player of the year Janel McCarville changed all that.

But it was the play of Podominick and Broback that was the driving force behind the Gopher’s 75-47 dismantling of North Dakota on Sunday at Williams Arena.

Another huge crowd for an exhibition game – 6,348 – witnessed the team close out its exhibition season 2-0.

Podominick, who was expected to start the year at the power forward position instead of center, showed the talent that made her one of Minnesota’s most sought-after recruits.

She scored a career-high 19 points and earned her second-straight double-double by adding 10 rebounds.

“I feel like I am able to read the defense better than I could last year,” Podominick said. “I look to carry that over into the regular season.”

Broback – who is playing power forward in place of Podominick – also had a career high, scoring 15 points. While Podominick scored 13 to pace the offense in the first half, Broback had 13 in the second.

Freshman Lauren Lacy played nine minutes in relief of Podominick and scored 10 points – all of which came during the Gophers’ dominant second half.

Led by freshman Danye Guinn with 15 points, North Dakota kept the game in reach through the end of the first half, which ended 32-23 in favor of Minnesota.

But the Gophers went on a tear in the second half, outscoring the Sioux 43-24.

Although junior April Calhoun got her second-straight start – scoring nine points – Minnesota coach Pam Borton cycled both her and sophomore Kelly Roysland in at shooting guard.

However, both were often on the floor at the same time, with Calhoun also playing point guard and Roysland seeing time at small forward.

Roysland had 11 points off the bench.

“I got into my groove right away,” Roysland said. “I wanted to set myself on playing tough defense first. I knew the offense would come.”

Along with Roysland and Calhoun, Borton said, she was especially pleased with the play of Broback and Podominick.

“One of our goals was to attack them inside,” Borton said. “Our post players did a real good job taking it one on one to the basket.”