Iverson struggling after stellar year

Ryan Schuster

Before the start of the season, the women’s athletic department touted senior center Angie Iverson as an All-America candidate. And why not?
The 21-year-old Owatonna, Minn., native was coming off a season in which she led the nation in rebounding, averaged 17 points a game and was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media while playing the entire season with a stress fracture in her back.
In addition, new Gophers coach Cheryl Littlejohn also promised to bring the program back to life after consecutive four-win seasons — which figured to give the team’s best player even more exposure.
But 19 games into the 1997-98 season, Iverson is averaging a disappointing 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game and the Gophers are an uninspired 4-15. In fact, Iverson has averaged a mediocre 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 19 minutes since being benched six games ago by Littlejohn for poor defense.
Over the weekend, she returned to her old starting role, but had only a combined 10 points and two rebounds in two double-digit Gophers defeats.
Those numbers are even more staggering when compared with her statistics through the team’s first 13 games. Iverson was averaging 15.7 points, eight rebounds and 29 minutes before she was removed from the starting lineup.
Floor Burns
Sophomore point guard Kiauna Burns scored a team-high 14 points in Minnesota’s 70-55 loss to Penn State Friday night and a career-high 25 points during Sunday’s 67-54 loss to Wisconsin. Her outstanding performances came a week after she was held out of the team’s lopsided loss at Northwestern because of a basketball-related coach’s decision by Littlejohn.
“I came prepared to play,” Burns said after Sunday’s game. “I played for the minutes that I was in, but this doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s not about me, it’s about the team.”
Burns was stripped of her starting role on the team two weeks ago because of sub-par defensive play. Although she has not yet regained her starting role, she has become the team’s go-to player in pressure situations.
Home sweet home
Penn State freshman forward Maren Walseth scored six straight points, most of them on free throws, in a three-minute stretch toward the end of the Lions’ 70-55 victory over the Gophers Friday night at the Sports Pavilion, helping her team pull away.
Walseth, a former Bloomington Jefferson High School player, scored all 12 of her points in the second half in front of 60 friends and family members.
“It was nice to be back in Minnesota and to play in a place I played in high school,” Walseth said. “I was extremely happy to be back and see a lot of my friends and family.”
This week’s sign the world is coming to an end (Part I)
The staff at the Sports Pavilion handed out a set of Minnesota women’s basketball cards over the weekend that included the Gophers’ 14 players, four coaches and — this is not a joke — team mascot Goldy Gopher.
This week’s sign the world is coming to an end (Part II)
Minnesota continued its annual tradition of holding a half time mascot basketball game, called “Critter Day,” during Sunday’s home loss to Wisconsin.
Back door cuts
ù The Gophers lead the Big Ten in turnovers with 216 in nine conference games, an average of 24 per game — the same number of turnovers the team averaged a game during last season’s 4-24 campaign.
ù Minnesota is 2-44 in its last 46 regular-season Big Ten games.
ù Freshman walk-on Rachel Young had this line over the weekend: zero points, six assists and eight turnovers in 56 minutes.