Minnesota uses tune-up, upset to win home tourney

by Emily Wickstrom

It appears as though Minnesota’s women’s basketball team will do OK without a superstar.

The No. 16 Gophers (2-0 overall) had six players reach double figures in their 84-77 upset of No. 11 Stanford in Sunday’s Subway Classic championship game at Williams Arena.

Senior guard Shannon Schonrock led the way with 15 points, while post players Liz Podominick and Lauren Lacey each had 14. Natasha Williams (13), Kelly Roysland (12) and April Calhoun (11) were the other Gophers’ players to top 10 points.

“We’ve been talking all along since the beginning of the year that this team is going to be by committee,” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “With… the balanced scoring we are a difficult team to defend and that’s how we are going to win a lot of basketball games.”

The Cardinal jumped out to an early 11-4 lead in the game’s first minutes that held for the majority of the half, behind star sophomore guard Candice Wiggins’ 10 points in just more than eight minutes.

Wiggins finished with a game-high 21 points.

“(Wiggins) makes a difference not only with their offense but defense,” Schonrock said. “She’s very quick. Hopefully we won’t have to face anyone better than her.”

After slowly rallying back, senior Shannon Bolden gave the Gophers their first lead of the game on a jump shot that put Minnesota up 25-24 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half.

“With the balanced attack, everyone’s stepping up to the plate and making big plays,” Roysland said.

And after Bolden’s shot, Minnesota would never trail again, despite several Cardinal runs.

With the game tied 37-37 at halftime, the Gophers went on an 8-0 run behind six points from Williams.

“Our defense was creating our offense and we just kept pushing it,” Borton said. “We knew that their post players could not run with our team.”

Minnesota’s lead stretched to as many as 12 points, but Stanford struck back to get within two points, 72-70, with just more than three minutes left in the game.

But the Gophers hung tough, making six of eight free throws down the stretch, despite struggling earlier.

“We played with a lot of toughness,” Borton said. “We played like the old Minnesota team the last three years and this is our identity as a team.”

Easy Saturday win

Minnesota disposed of San Francisco 80-62 on Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena.

Williams led the way for the Gophers with a dominant 26 points and 5 blocks, while Roysland and Lacey finished with 11 and 12 points, respectively.

After leading by nine points after the first half, Minnesota pulled away in the second.

“This was a good win for us against a very scrappy and very good San Francisco team,” Borton said. “We came out the second half and turned up our defense a little bit.”

Williams was named the Most Valuable Player of the Subway Classic, while Roysland was one of the other six members named to the All-Tournament team.