Border battle with Badgers looms

Jackie Voigt is day-to-day after a concussion on Sunday.

Betsy Helfand

Minnesota will get the opportunity to cut down on its âÄúself-inflicted woundsâÄù when it hosts Wisconsin on Thursday night.

After upsetting Michigan State at Williams Arena on Jan. 19, Minnesota went into its Jan. 22 game against No. 24 Nebraska on a high note.

But a loss to Nebraska dropped the Gophers to 3-4 in the conference.

 âÄúI think that we have control over a lot of things out there that need to get fixed,âÄù head coach Pam Borton said.

Borton specifically pointed to missed defensive assignments, missed layups and turnovers as faults that need to be corrected.

After dropping their first three conference games, the Badgers have won two of four games including their last game âÄî a 75-55 victory against Northwestern.  Wisconsin is 2-5 in the Big Ten and 6-13 overall.

âÄúThey play great as a team,âÄù Borton said of the Badgers. âÄúThey play great defense. They do a great job on the boards. I think theyâÄôre a tougher basketball team this year physically and mentally âÄî you can see it on the film.

âÄúTheyâÄôve got versatile play in their guard play so weâÄôve got our work cut out for us,âÄù she added.

Senior guard Kiara Buford  acknowledged her recent struggle with turnovers after Borton called out some of her veteran players without naming them.

âÄúI think that we had some crucial turnovers from the guard position that need to be avoided,âÄù Buford said

The Gophers committed 19 turnovers during their last game. Buford had four, as did freshman Rachel Banham.

Minnesota was outshot (in both 2- and 3-point field goals), outrebounded (both offensively and defensively) and committed more turnovers than Nebraska on Sunday. In order to win games, the Gophers will need to reverse that trend.

âÄúWe have to compete. We canâÄôt have teams go after us on everything and beat us in every aspect of the game,âÄù Banham said.

Because the team has relied so heavily on Banham and Buford offensively, the Gophers will once again seek a more balanced scoring attack in their game against Wisconsin.

Borton said balanced scoring helped Minnesota upset Michigan State. Scoring from post players helped ease the pressure on the teamâÄôs guards in that game.

There is a chance that the Gophers will be without forward Jackie Voigt, who suffered a concussion during SundayâÄôs game.

Voigt and NebraskaâÄôs Brandi Jeffery collided near half-court diving for a ball. Borton said on Tuesday that Voigt had not practiced that day and is âÄúday-to-day.âÄù

Voigt has started 15 of 21 games and is averaging 3.9 points per game. She is third on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game.

The Gophers are trailing the all-time series 29-34. The Badgers have won the last five games between the two teams.