Women hoping to finish rest of the season strong

Missing a golden opportunity to continue its ascent in the Big Ten standings, the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team surrendered a first-half lead to No. 17 Ohio State on Thursday and lost 73-62 in Williams Arena. The Gophers played well until midway through the second half when the Big- Ten-leading Buckeyes made their push and went on a 13-0 run. âÄúItâÄôs disappointing because we had a chance to get into a tie for second place and itâÄôs a missed opportunity,âÄù Minnesota coach Pam Borton said after the game. While MinnesotaâÄôs next opponent in Northwestern would not seem to be near as quality of an opponent as Ohio State, the Gophers proved they should not take the Wildcats lightly during their game in Williams Arena earlier this season. Junior forward Ashley Ellis-MilanâÄôs tough post basket with a minute left and freshman forward Jackie VoigtâÄôs two clutch free-throws shortly after allowed Minnesota to survive a potential upset by beating Northwestern 43-40 on Jan. 25. The Wildcats sit at the bottom in the conference standings, but Minnesota also needed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to defeat Michigan âÄî 10th in the Big Ten âÄî last Sunday on the road. With the first of three games left in Big Ten play starting against the Wildcats on Monday, the Gophers hope to put up some more points this time against Northwestern on their way to obtaining a late-season road win. âÄúWe have to look at this game and know we didnâÄôt play our best basketball,âÄù senior guard Emily Fox said. âÄúWe have to bounce right back and regroup because we have a tough game with Northwestern on Monday.âÄù After a solid Big Ten campaign thus far, the consistent play of Ellis-Milan came to a halt on Thursday against Ohio State, overmatched in height by six-foot, four-inch center Jantel Lavender and the BuckeyesâÄô other tall defenders. Ellis-Milan finished the game shooting just 2-of-12 from the field for five points, and the scoring drop hurt the Gophers as they have leaned on her 12.2 points per game this season. MinnesotaâÄôs other starting post in Voigt also scored just five points Thursday, as Borton said both post players must be more productive for the team to compete the rest of the season. âÄúShe needs to slow down and have more composure in there,âÄù Borton said of Ellis-MilanâÄôs performance against Ohio State. âÄúItâÄôs going to be tough to win the way that Ashley and Jackie played tonight.âÄù While the Wildcats may not feature a post-presence like the Buckeyes 2008 Big Ten Player of the Year in Lavender, Northwestern center Amy Jaeschke is having a very solid season in her own right. The Wildcats six-foot, five-inch sophomore averages 14.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season, and is the only Northwestern player to average double-figures in scoring. âÄúWe need better play in the post,âÄù Borton said.