Gophers drop to 23rd-ranked Illinois on road

The Gophers women’s basketball team continued its conference skid Sunday. This time, No. 21 Illinois defeated visiting Minnesota soundly, 81-49.
Minnesota was almost in sight at halftime, as the Illini took a 38-21 lead into the locker room. But in the end, the Gophers couldn’t overcome 29 turnovers and a lack of scoring. Minnesota shot just 26 percent from the floor.
Illini guard Allison Curtin led all scorers with 22 points. Curtin’s teammates added to the damage.
Forward Tauja Catchings chipped in 17 points and 10 rebounds while forward Susan Blauser had 10 boards to put the hurt on Minnesota.
Sophomore guard Cassie VanderHeyden topped the Gophers’ scorers with 16 points.
The Gophers return home to play Wisconsin on Thursday.
Women’s Gymnastics
The Minnesota women’s gymnastics team continued its upswing with a season-high score of 195.125 Sunday. The score helped the Gophers beat Iowa 195.125-193.550.
Minnesota’s season-high was bolstered by MaryAnne Kelley’s career-high all around score of 39.175.
Kelley’s score was also the second-best in school history. She tied for first on the balance beam and on the vault.
The Gophers won or tied for first in every event to thoroughly defeat the Hawkeyes.
Kristi Selinger, Megan Beuckens and Megan Skokut set personal bests on the balance beam for Minnesota.
Women’s track and field
The Gophers rolled past their competition at a triangular meet this weekend. Minnesota hosted Drake and Minnesota State on Saturday and Aubrey Schmitt took advantage of the low-pressure meet to come up with big tosses.
The senior thrower set a school record in the weight throw with a toss of 62 feet, 8 1/2 inches which provisionally qualifies her for the NCAA championships in March. She also qualified in the shot put.
Minnesota won nine of the 14 events on the day. The Gophers are tuning up for the Big Ten indoor championship, which they host at the end of February.

Women’s tennis
The Minnesota women’s tennis team thumped its competition for the weekend, Western Michigan, 7-0 Sunday in Bloomington.
The Gophers had no problems with Western Michigan — in fact, they never lost a set.
Minnesota’s record improves to 3-1 on the season, with its only loss coming to Pepperdine two weeks ago.

–Compiled from press releases