Gophers beat Lady Lions

Senior Shae Kelley led the team with 18 points in the victory over Penn State.

Junior guard Mikayla Bailey dribbles the ball against Penn State at Williams Arena on Wednesday.

Image by Holly Peterson

Junior guard Mikayla Bailey dribbles the ball against Penn State at Williams Arena on Wednesday.

by Matt Greenstein

“Fast and furious” has been a phrase to describe Minnesota’s game plan, but unlike the movie, the Gophers’ opponent on Wednesday ran just as fast as they did.

During Minnesota’s 75-64 victory, the Penn State Lady Lions matched the Gophers’ speed and aggressiveness, but foul trouble plagued Penn State down the stretch.

“They got us at the free-throw line. They doubled us up at the free-throw line,” Penn State head coach Coquese Washington said of the Gophers.

The Lady Lions finished with 24 fouls as opposed to Minnesota’s eight.

Senior forward Shae Kelley said the Gophers needed to stay aggressive in order to keep Penn State on its heels.

“My teammates were able to hit me in some open spots. We ran some plays for me, and we capitalized on that,” Kelley said.

One of the ways Minnesota’s shooting-heavy offense was able to keep Penn State playing conservatively was by shooting the three-ball.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, the team’s shots refused to fall.

The Gophers shot only 5-of-16 from long range in the first half, but that didn’t deter Minnesota from employing the same strategy in the second half.

 “We typically shoot better, but you have nights like that. They had good size inside, so we’re going to take those open looks anytime we get them,” head coach Marlene Stollings said.

The Gophers ended the game shooting 30.3 percent from beyond the arch, and Stollings said the team was going to keep shooting whether or not it went in.

“We just tell our kids to keep shooting the ball. It’ll eventually go down,” Stollings said.

Coming off of a 36-point performance, redshirt sophomore Amanda Zahui B. was held to just 16 points, but she ended the game with a triple-double, tallying 13 rebounds and 12 blocks.

“Based on some of their coverages, we knew we were going to get a lot of threes. It was important for Amanda and Shae to go rebound for us,” Stollings said.

During her 36-point outburst against Rutgers, Zahui B. was 2-of-3 from beyond the arch, but she continued the Gophers’ 3-point struggles Wednesday, missing her lone 3-point attempt.

Minnesota’s lack of offense was most evident during the start of the second half when Penn State went on a 20-3 run.

But the team’s aggressiveness continued with its most aggressive player, Kelley, converting an and-one with just over 2:30 to play.

Kelley said the and-one was huge for the Gophers in keeping their lead.

“It was definitely a momentum changer. The crowd is great. They always pick up when we make a good play or a good stop, and that helps our momentum,” Kelley said.