Coach says Iverson was snubbed by Big Ten

by Aaron Kirscht

Following Sunday’s 66-64 win — yes, win — over Ohio State, Gophers coach Linda Hill-MacDonald summed up center Angie Iverson’s play over the weekend”
“I think she should be Big Ten Player of the Week,” Hill-MacDonald said. “(She had) just an outstanding back-to-back performance. I can’t imagine anyone matching it.
“If there’s a player who played as well as Angie this weekend, I’ll be surprised.”
In Friday’s 82-64 loss, Iverson scored a career-high 29 points on 13-of-15 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. Iverson again led all scorers on Sunday with 22 points and added nine rebounds and four steals. Most notably, she helped the Gophers to their first Big Ten victory in 33 tries.
In the event that Iverson’s performance was matched, Hill-MacDonald suggested that her leading scorer and rebounder should at least have a share of the award.
Neither prediction panned out. Northwestern’s Michelle Ratay, who scored 21 and 20 points in wins over Penn State and No. 10 Wisconsin, got the nod.
A comparison of Ratay’s and Iverson’s weekend performances shows Iverson with the edge in points scored (51-41), rebounds (21-13) and shooting percentage (72-50). Ratay had an advantage in assists (6-4), free throw percentage (100-63) and total 3-point baskets (6-1).
But the most telling statistics are likely wins and losses. Northwestern is in sixth place in the Big Ten with a 5-6 record, 12-8 overall. Minnesota is 1-10, 3-18 overall.
Nell knows
Purdue coach Nell Fortner’s comments after the Boilermakers beat Minnesota 82-64 Friday were almost prophetic.
“They’re going to beat somebody,” Fortner said. “Iverson is a very nice player, they’re young, they’re going to win some ball games. It’s just a matter of getting that first win under their belt.”
Two days later, Minnesota won its first Big Ten game in nearly two years.
The Gophers had a strong first half against Purdue, finishing with a five-point run to take a 33-32 lead. Heading into the game, the Boilermakers (10-8 overall, 6-3 Big Ten) were 1-6 when trailing at the half.
“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Fortner said. “I’m probably the only one who knew that. But I thought about it when we walked back onto the court in the second half.”
But against the Gophers, that second-half stat turned out to be misleading. With Minnesota leading 39-38, Purdue went on a 25-6 run to take a 63-45 lead and won the game going away.
Relax … I got this one
Iverson gets a lot of ink, most of it well-deserved. But on Friday, she gave the phrase “carry a team” a whole new meaning.
Iverson scored 29 points on 13-of-15 (87 percent) shooting. The rest of the team combined for 35 points on 14-of-37 (38 percent) shooting. And Iverson had 12 rebounds, while the rest of the team had 14.
Hoop funk
ù The last time fireworks flashed on the Sports Pavilion scoreboard at the end of a Big Ten game was Feb. 10, 1995, when the Gophers whipped Illinois, 92-46.
Two days later, the 32-game drought, which ended Sunday, began with a 20-point loss to — who else — the Buckeyes.
ù Ohio State coach Nancy Darsch needs to work on her analogies.
When a reporter pointed out her team had 31 turnovers — one short of their season high — Darsch said her team was like the “Pepperidge Farms bakery.”
Get it? Making turnovers? Whoa, Nancy, slow down.
ù The Gophers went into the Big Ten schedule on a relatively high note, having beaten Fairfield 74-68 at the UNLV Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
After the win, guard Mindy Hansen announced that she would refrain from shaving her legs until Minnesota won another game. That was Dec. 20.
“It was pretty gross,” Hansen said. “Coach (Hill-MacDonald) was telling us about inner arrogance. So I shaved before the game. I told everyone, Here’s my inner arrogance. I shaved, we’ll win.'”
No word on whether armpits were a part of the deal.