No. 2 Stanford too much for Minnesota

Considering coach Pam BortonâÄôs team motto for the year, âÄúexpect to win,âÄù the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team canâÄôt be completely happy with its opening weekend. But as MinnesotaâÄôs only loss came against the second-ranked team in the nation, the weekend could certainly still be considered a success. The Gophers lost to No. 2 Stanford 55-68 Friday to open up the season, but finished the weekend strong with a convincing 70-45 win at Santa Clara on Sunday. âÄúObviously we wanted to come out 2-0. WeâÄôre not going to be happy about a loss,âÄù associate head coach Barb Smith said. âÄúBut what we can take from this weekend is everything we learned. Our post defense was strong, our shooting wasnâÄôt good and the offensive things have to get better.âÄù The Gophers struggled to get anything going in the first half against Stanford, putting themselves in a hole early. Minnesota shot just 19 percent from the field, and gave up eight offensive rebounds in the first half to allow the Cardinal to grab a 27-17 lead at the half. âÄúWe didnâÄôt set the tone and come out like we wanted to,âÄù senior guard Kay Sylva said. âÄúI think we had the jitters a little bit. Everyone was excited, and we just got off to a slow start.âÄù Junior guard Katie Ohm got hot in the second half, putting up 13 of her team-high 15 points in the half to help the Gophers pull to within five halfway through the second half. Junior center Zoe Harper chipped in 10 second-half points as Minnesota improved its shot percentage to 47 percent. The Gophers also rebounded better in the half, allowing just two offensive boards to shut down StanfordâÄôs second-chance opportunities. But the Cardinal managed to stave off MinnesotaâÄôs run, taking advantage of their size down low, to have three forwards collect double-digit points. Stanford also kept senior guard Emily Fox under control, not allowing the GophersâÄô talented scorer to get into any kind of rhythm and holding her to six points on 2-11 shooting. Fox looked a little more like herself Sunday, going 7-11 from the field to put up 17 points, helping to lead Minnesota to a convincing win over Santa Clara. âÄúI think sheâÄôs just making better decisions,âÄù Borton said of FoxâÄôs play. âÄúSheâÄôs taking better shots. She hasnâÄôt practiced for a while and so itâÄôs going to take some time for her to get back into the swing of things. But she looked better in this game.âÄù The Gophers forced 38 turnovers and scored 30 points off of turnovers, taking control of the game early in the second half. âÄúWe watched the Stanford film and thought our defense looked pretty good,âÄù Ohm said. âÄúOur goal is to do a little better each game, so Kay [Sylva] grabbed some steals up front, and our guards overall did a great job. Our defense looked as good as it has since IâÄôve been here, so weâÄôre happy with that.âÄù Ohm once again had a good night shooting, collecting 17 points, including three three-pointers. Minnesota scored with nine different players, spreading the rest of the offense out, and used its swarming defense to hold the Broncos to just 41 shots âÄî 18 less than the Gophers took.