Minnesota avenges loss to Iowa

The University of Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball teamâÄôs most disappointing loss of the season came at Iowa on Jan. 11 in a 74-57 lopsided defeat. But since then the Gophers have gone 6-1 with huge victories against the top-two teams in the Big Ten, and on Sunday avenged their worst loss of the season with a 64-58 comeback victory against Iowa in Williams Arena. SundayâÄôs win was the third game in the week for Minnesota, going 3-0 during the week to claim sole possession of third place in the conference. âÄúWe looked like a team that hadnâÄôt played three games in a week,âÄù Minnesota coach Pam Borton said of the win Sunday. The first win was one week ago, a huge 60-44 win against Michigan State at home âÄî the current second-place team in the Big Ten. Fresh off a 63-61 win at Penn State on Thursday âÄî as senior guard Emily Fox scored 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting âÄî against the Hawkeyes, Minnesota relied on its other big-gun in junior Ashley Ellis-Milan. Fox struggled to a 2-of-14 shooting performance Sunday, so Ellis-MilanâÄôs season-high 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds were crucial for Minnesota to get the win. âÄúMinnesota has big players, and we needed some more big bodies to match up with their big players,âÄù Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. The Gophers offense struggled to get going in the first half, shooting 28 percent from the field and 18 percent from 3-point territory. The Hawkeyes capitalized on MinnesotaâÄôs rough start to take a 12-4 lead four minutes into the game after Iowa freshman guard and Crookston native Kamille Wahlin hit a 3-pointer. Iowa shot 50 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point territory to carry a 29-23 lead into halftime. After an Iowa turnover three and half minutes into the second half, Minnesota grabbed a 33-31 lead on an Ellis-Milan post-move from the left block to the right side of the basket. Gophers reserve guard Kay Sylva logged some key minutes in the second half, hitting a 3-pointer and a spinning layup in a 30 second span midway into the second half to give Minnesota a 42-39 lead. âÄúWe are a completely different team when Kay comes in,âÄù Borton said. âÄúWe are a fun team to watch.âÄù While the Gophers kept going to Ellis-Milan for scoring, Iowa center Megan Skouby kept the Hawkeyes close with a series of jump-hooks late in the second half. But MinnesotaâÄôs defense clamped down and Ellis-Milan kept hitting shots to go on a 13-2 run in the last four minutes. With the game tied at 58-58 with one minute to play, Ellis-Milan spun to the basket for another layup to give Minnesota the sealing 60-58 lead. âÄúThey did a good job of stepping up and making plays in crunch time,âÄù Iowa senior guard Kristi Smith said. Freshman forward Jackie Voigt nailed four clutch free throws to end the game. âÄúWhat a great win for many different reasons for this team and this program,âÄù Borton said.