Gophers can’t hold off Michigan

Minnesota opened strong but eventually fell to the Wolverines.

Aleutian Calabay

The Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team came out Thursday night looking like a team intent on finishing the season strong in the second-to-last game against Michigan. The Gophers knocked down shot after shot, and outhustled the Wolverines on both ends of the court as they scored the gameâÄôs first 13 points. But, as has been the way the Minnesota season has gone, it came as little surprise that Michigan wound up winning the game by double digits. Ice-cold shooting doomed the Gophers in the second half as Michigan took control and went on to win 65-54. âÄúI think we came out and played very well defensively in the first half and followed the game plan,âÄù Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúComing out in the second half we missed a lot of wide open shots. In the end of the game we completely fell apart defensively, and it affected our offense.âÄù It was a tale of two halves for both teams, especially when it came to shooting. The Gophers shot 46.4 percent in the first half, but just 24 percent in the second. Michigan, however, shot just 34.6 percent in the first half, but upped it to 42.4 percent in the second half. The Minnesota defense had no answer for freshman Dayeesha Hollins who torched the Gophers for a game-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers and 6 for 6 at the free-throw line. Senior Katie Ohm was a bright spot for Minnesota as she scored a team-high 18 points, all coming off a career-high six 3-pointers. Sophomore Kiara Buford finished the game with 11 points and senior Ashley Ellis-Milan chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior Brittany McCoy finished the game with nine assists, making her just the third player in Gophers history to surpass 500 assists in her Minnesota career. The Gophers started the game shooting lights out from behind the arch, hitting 7 of 13 3-pointers in the first half, including three by Ohm and two from Buford. It was BufordâÄôs second 3-pointer that gave Minnesota a 27-12 lead with seven minutes remaining in the half. However, Michigan began forming its comeback, finishing the half on a 12-6 run. The momentum for the Wolverines carried over into the second half as they came out on a 9-0 run. The Gophers responded by regaining their first-half shooting touch as Ohm once again knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in a 15-6 Minnesota run. Unfortunately for the Gophers, their offense became completely dormant when they went more than six minutes in the middle of the second half without scoring. Meanwhile, the Hollins-led Wolverines continued to score in bunches, taking their first lead of the game at 49-48 with 7:30 remaining. Michigan continued to find ways to score and put the game out of reach with an 18-2 run late in the game. âÄúWe knew they werenâÄôt going to lie down and die. TheyâÄôre a resilient team,âÄù McCoy said. âÄúWe were clicking on offense at the beginning and hitting shots, and I donâÄôt think we were able to hit those shots in the second half for whatever reason.âÄù The Gophers finish up the regular season as they travel to Michigan State on Sunday. Tip-off is at 1 p.m.