It was the Janel McCarville show in the first half Friday night at Williams Arena. McCarville had 10 points and seven rebounds along with three blocked shots as the Gophers sputtered past Minnesota-Duluth 85-73 in their final exhibition game.
The Gophers built a 20-point lead going into halftime before Bulldogs’ Lindsey Dietz scored 23 of her 32 points in the second half, and McCarville and Gophers freshman Liz Podominick fouled out.
“Luckily we had a lead at the beginning of the game or it would have been a different outcome,” said Minnesota senior Lindsay Whalen, who led the Gophers with 24 points and 10 assists. “Later in the year, it will be a different outcome.”
The Gophers played strong first-half defense, holding the Bulldogs to 25 points and only nine field goals. But things unraveled in the second as Minnesota was outscored 48-40.
“We were moving our feet and our help-side defense was good,” Gophers sophomore Shannon Bolden said. “Then in the second we were jumping off our feet, and no one played very good defense.”
Minnesota begins its regular season this weekend in the Subway Basketball Classic at Williams Arena – where the team will not be able to take a half off.
“We got too comfortable,” coach Pam Borton said. “The first half, we played extremely well. Then in the second, we played very undisciplined defense – we just need to play smarter.”
• The Gophers lineup is growing increasingly slim as the team officially lost senior forward Leslie Hill to a season-ending torn Achilles tendon.
“Having Leslie out there for us coaches is like a calming effect because she doesn’t make mistakes,” Borton said. “You can’t replace anyone with three years of experience.”
Minnesota’s roster is now only 11 players deep, including two walk-ons.
• Freshman guard Kelly Roysland sat out Friday’s game with flu-like symptoms.