Offense choked off in loss at Ohio State

Aaron Blake

With 1:25 remaining in Thursday night’s Minnesota women’s basketball game in Columbus, Ohio, Gopher guard Lindsay Whalen stepped behind the arc and sank a three-pointer – her third field goal attempt of the game and her only make.

Whalen and the rest of the 15th-ranked Gophers were smothered by No. 25 Ohio State’s Big Ten-leading defense, losing 66-58.

Minnesota (16-4, 5-4 Big Ten) is now 0-4 on the road in the Big Ten, averaging only 65.6 points per game compared to its home average of 85.2 in conference play.

Ohio State shot 53.2 percent as a team while holding on to a tie for third place in the Big Ten with Michigan State. With the loss, the Gophers fell into a tie for fifth with Illinois.

Whalen was just 1-for-5 from the field for the game, scoring a season-low five points in 26 minutes. Thirty-five minutes into the game, she had shot the ball only once.

As a team, Minnesota shot 44 percent from the field – well below its season average of 53.4. The Gophers attempted only 10 free throws and were out-rebounded 29-22.

Kim Coleman and Kate Wilburn scored 18 points each for the Buckeyes (15-5, 6-3) with Coleman grabbing eight rebounds and Wilburn dishing out seven assists.

Minnesota led through most of the first half and was ahead 28-21 before a Wilburn three-pointer brought the Buckeyes to within four at the break.

The Gophers held tight to a six-point lead at 34-28 early in the second half, but a seven-point run quickly put Ohio State in the lead for the first time since early in the game.

After the teams traded a few baskets, the Buckeyes went on a 24-6 run that would put the lead in double digits at 55-43 with just over three minutes remaining.

The Gophers had managed just five baskets in the second half until this point, and they ended up scoring half of their 30 second-half points in the final 3:11.

The lone bright spot for the Gophers was sophomore forward Janel McCarville, who scored 15 points, grabbed 12 of Minnesota’s 22 rebounds and handed out a career-high six assists.

Aaron Blake covers women’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]