Tourney MVP Von Wald leads Gophers to 93-53 win Sunday

by Aaron Blake

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team started the season in much the same way it did last year with Corrin Von Wald proving that opponents must prepare for a second offensive star this season.

Both the 17th-ranked Gophers and Von Wald had record-setting weekends at the Subway Basketball Classic as Minnesota disposed of Indiana University Purdue-Fort Wayne 116-73 on Saturday and Radford 93-53 in the championship game Sunday at Williams Arena.

Last year, the Gophers began their road to the NCAA tournament by beating Butler 114-65 and Santa Clara 92-73 in the classic.

“We were very disappointed giving up 73 points (on Saturday),” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “(Sunday) I was very, very pleased with the effort on defense. We are well on our way to being an unbelievable team this year.”

The 116 points Minnesota put up improved upon the previous record of 115 set in 1983.

Classic MVP Von Wald set a personal best by contributing 21 points to the Gophers’ record-setting Saturday. She nearly bettered that in the first half Sunday, scoring 18 and finishing with 23 on 10-for-10 shooting.

Von Wald’s marksmanship Sunday tied a Gopher team record for field-goal percentage as well.

“What’s funny is we usually have an hour to shoot around before games,” Von Wald said. “I only had 20 minutes tonight (because of the consolation game), so I felt cold.”

Junior Lindsay Whalen took the scoring load off Von Wald’s shoulders in the second half, scoring 15 of her 26 points despite playing only nine minutes after intermission.

The Gophers held Radford to only 36.2 percent shooting but were out-rebounded 37-35, and allowed the Highlanders to grab 19 on the offensive end.

Versus IPFW, the Gophers opened the game up early and held on with the record-setting offensive output.

In the first half, the Mastadons were held scoreless for the first 3:58 while Minnesota opened a 13-0 lead.

The second stanza saw Minnesota trample the foul-prone and tired Mastadons. The Gophers totaled 69 points including 22-22 from the free-throw line. Besides points scored, the team also set a record for free throws made in a game with 34.

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Whalen sat much of the first half with two fouls, but still led all Gophers with 23 points and nine assists.

All-tournament team

besides MVP Von Wald, Whalen was named to the all-tournament team. She is joined by Savannah State’s Tiffany Stephens, IPFW’s Amy Geralds, and Radford’s Sherri Rickman.

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