Gophers earn Subway Classic title

Behind hot shooting, Minnesota beat UIC and Colorado.

Aleutian Calabay

The Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team got back on track by winning the Subway Basketball Classic this weekend. The Gophers first beat Illinois-Chicago in dominant fashion, 94-58 , on Saturday, then took down Colorado on Sunday 87-78. Senior Ashely Ellis-Milan was named the tournamentâÄôs most valuable player while sophomore Kiara Buford and junior China Antoine were named to the All-Tournament Team. The Gophers got their offense flowing early on against Illinois-Chicago as three consecutive 3-pointers put Minnesota up 16-3. The Gophers never let up, shooting a solid .596 from the field for the game. Their defense also stepped up holding the Flames to just .361 shooting while forcing 18 steals and five blocks. Ellis-Milan had a game high 16 points . Buford had 15 points and Brittany McCoy finished with 13. Leah Cotton provided solid minutes off the bench, chipping in 11 points. The Gophers appeared to be running away in the Colorado game as well, as they jumped out to a quick 17-7 lead. But Brittany Spears led the BuffaloesâÄô comeback effort as the Gophers went into the half with just a 45-41 lead. Colorado continued to push into the second half as they knocked down three 3-pointers en route to taking a 54-49 lead. Minnesota came storming right back, tying the game on an Antoine 3-pointer. The lead jostled back and forth until back to back 3-pointers by Jackie Voigt and Cotton gave the Gophers a 66-61 lead that they would not relinquish, as Minnesota maintained at least a three-point lead through the rest of the game. âÄúNot one second [did we panic],âÄù Ellis-Milan said. âÄúIâÄôm comfortable with the people that IâÄôm out there with, and I think we all knew that we were going to win the game. We all had the mindset that we were going to win the game, so weâÄôre going to do whatever it takes to win the game, so we just layed it all out on the line.âÄù The Gophers out-shot Colorado .500 to .491 and outrebounded the Buffaloes 32-24. Minnesota had five players reach double figures. Buford led the way with 24 points, while Ellis-Milan had 19 and Voigt added 13. The Gophers also continued to get support off the bench as Cotton again came in and contributed 11 points and Antoine chipped in 10. Spears led the way for Colorado with a game-high 27 points. The GophersâÄô .500-plus shooting percentage or better is a vast improvement over the teamâÄôs first two games where they shot just .368 and .323 . A combined 181 points in the tournament will go a long way toward helping Minnesota gel early in the season. âÄúI think weâÄôre taking better shots, and weâÄôre finishing in the lane,âÄù Gophers head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúI think weâÄôre taking our time a little more, hitting threes. I think these last two games will give our team a lot of confidence on the types of shots that weâÄôre taking and everyone else just stepping up and knocking shots down. âÄúThatâÄôs the good thing about this team is that we have a lot of weapons.âÄù