Women’s hoops wins Bahamas tourney

Dan Miller

While taking home another tournament championship trophy and some sun, Minnesota’s undefeated women’s basketball team made a statement over the weekend at the Junkanoo Jam Shootout in Freeport, Bahamas – it can put together a solid second half.

In all of their five wins this season, the Gophers (5-0) have held opponents to an average of 22 first half points, but have given up an average of 35 in the second.

Minnesota held off Texas A&M 88-72 in their first game Friday after building a 32-point lead early in the second half.

The 11th-ranked Gophers high-octane offense jumped all over Texas A&M early, opening with a 20-4 run.

But the Aggies battled back in the second half, led by Toccara Williams who scored 18 of her 22 points after halftime.

Minnesota senior Kadidja Andersson, averaging five points a game in her previous three games, led the Gophers with a career-high 18 points.

Gophers senior Lindsay Whalen had 17 points, five rebounds and six assists in the game.

Minnesota junior Janel McCarville, playing aggressive defense, fouled out with 6:37 remaining in the game after posting 17 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Saturday, in the Lucaya division championship game, the Gophers proved they could build a lead and sustain it, beating Southern California 84-61.

McCarville took over the second half against the Trojans, turning an eight-point game into a blowout.

McCarville scored a career-high 27 points and had eight rebounds.

Averaging 13 points a game last year, McCarville has a larger role offensively this season.

“Coach wants me to score a little more this year,” McCarville said. “It has just kind of come to me.”

The Trojans cut the lead to 11 at halftime on a half-court buzzer beater by Jamie Hagiya. They opened the second-half with a three-pointer and trailed by only eight points.

But then it was all Gophers.

Minnesota sophomore Shannon Schonrock matched the Tojans’ three-pointer and Minnesota went on a 21-6 run to push the lead to 23 with 12 minutes remaining.

Minnesota did have trouble handling the ball in the two games turning it over 21 and 30 times against the Aggies and Trojans, respectively.

“USC played us very aggressive and pressed the whole game,” Borton said. “But we have to handle pressure defense better.”

The Gophers host Creighton at 7 p.m. Thursday at Williams Arena.

Minnesota has relied on fast starts in their previous three games, having troubles in second halves.

Putting together two halves and playing a complete game has been Borton’s goal since the Drake game Nov. 25, and she believes the Gophers are on the right track.

“We played a great 40 minutes against USC,” Borton said. “We are really turning the corner in putting together a complete game.”

Strong Big Ten showing

Seventh-ranked Penn State joined the Gophers in the Bahamas, winning the opposite brack over ninth-ranked Kansas State.