Sweet seconds: Gophers top Virginia to reach round of 16

After handing the Cavaliers a 73-58 loss, Minnesota faces Baylor on Saturday.

by David McCoy

It was Janel McCarville’s final game at Williams Arena.

And while the All-American did treat fans to a bone-crunching pick at mid-court and tied Molly Tadich’s all-time team record with 48 double-doubles, she didn’t light up the scoreboard with 33 points like she did in her regular-season Williams Arena finale.

She left that up to number 33.

Jamie Broback scored a game-high 23 points – much of it while McCarville was on the bench with foul trouble – to lead third-seeded Minnesota to a 73-58 win over sixth-seeded Virginia on Monday in front of 10,043 at Williams Arena.

The win puts Minnesota in the Sweet 16 for the third-straight season. The team plays Baylor on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.

“Obviously, with Janel on the bench, we needed to step it up,” Broback said. “She’s our go-to player. But with her on the bench, I had to take her load. We had no other option.”

McCarville played just 10 minutes in the first half with foul trouble and scored just two points. But she rebounded in the second half, finishing with 11 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes.

In her absence, Minnesota fell behind when Virginia’s Sharnee Zoll hit a three-pointer to tie the game and Brandi Teamer took a long pass and laid it in to give the Cavaliers a 7-5 lead.

That started a 12-2 run for Virginia, capped by another three-pointer from Brenna McGuire to double up the Gophers 14-7.

Minnesota drew back within two after Kelly Roysland hit a three-pointer, but threes by LaTonya Blue and Zoll kept the Cavaliers up 20-14.

A 4 1/2-minute drought for Virginia then led to an 11-0 Minnesota run that ballooned into a 16-3 run after Shannon Schonrock nailed her second three-pointer of the night to put the Gophers on top 30-23.

Minnesota took a 34-28 lead into halftime.

“(The Cavaliers) didn’t play as aggressive without me in the game,” McCarville said. “They got lax, and my teammates made a couple of easy baskets that caught them off guard.”

Then, with McCarville back, the Gophers erupted on a 16-2 run in the second half, which gave them a 61-40 cushion.

During the run, McCarville leveled Virginia’s Blue with a pick on a screen at mid-court.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” McCarville said when asked what the turning point of the game was. “It was my pick. It got us fired up.”

Blue lay on her back until the play was stopped, still reeling from the hit. She later returned.

McCarville was tagged with a belated third foul after the whistle and headed back to the bench.

But that didn’t seem to worry Minnesota at all. In fact, it only gave the Gophers more time to build confidence that, even without their superstar, they can do just fine.

“We had a lot of courage on our team with Janel on the bench,” coach Pam Borton said. “Our kids took a deep breath and stepped up, and did the things Janel does.”s