Women’s hoops wins at Mich. St.

Ryan Schuster

It took a new starting lineup and contributions from several unlikely sources, but the Gophers women’s basketball team finally got its first Big Ten win of the season Sunday afternoon at Michigan State.
Before the game, Gophers coach Cheryl Littlejohn substituted juniors Mindy Hansen and Sonja Robinson in the starting lineup for senior center Angie Iverson and sophomore guard Kiauna Burns, the team’s two leading scorers. The change seemed to work, as the different lineup helped lead Minnesota to a 81-73 road win over Michigan State (7-9 overall, 1-5 Big Ten) in East Lansing, Mich.
“We controlled the tempo from the beginning to the end,” Littlejohn said. “I think our different starting lineup really put us in a better position defensively to start the game. This is our best starting group yet. They will continue to be our starters.”
Little-used freshman center Theresa LeCuyer, who is also a member of the Gophers’ surprising new lineup, scored a career-high 18 points and had five rebounds in only 14 minutes after scoring just one point in Friday’s 86-60 loss to Illinois.
“I knew I had to step it up, especially after the Illinois game,” LeCuyer said. “I was expecting to come in and pick it up a little — and I did.”
Burns had 15 points and seven assists, and Robinson chipped in 10 points and four steals for the Gophers.
Minnesota (4-11 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) won even though Angie Iverson and Sarah Klun, the team’s leading scorers against Illinois, both fouled out and combined for only 10 points.
“For us, it’s a confidence builder,” Littlejohn said. “They were sold on the game plan, and they went out and executed it.”
The Gophers shot 46 percent to Michigan State’s 39 percent and scored 24 points off Spartan turnovers.
The upset victory is the Gophers’ biggest win of the season so far, but it is only the team’s third win over a Big Ten opponent in its last 46 conference games.
Sunday’s win was one of the few games this season that the Gophers have played a complete, 40-minute game.
“Some of our hard work is finally paying off in some areas,” Burns said.
The Gophers did not fare nearly as well Friday night against Illinois, though. Minnesota was outshot 56 percent to 35 percent and outrebounded 42-28 in a 86-60 blowout loss to the No. 11 Illini in Champaign, Ill.
After jumping out to a 43-30 halftime lead, Illinois put the game away with an 18-6 run to start the second half and led by as many as 32 points.
Iverson led the Gophers with 18 points and Klun scored 10.
Despite Friday’s big loss, Minnesota was able to regroup and come out on top on Sunday with an unlikely cast of characters and a newfound sense of assurance.
“Coming in, we had confidence because we knew we could win,” LeCuyer said. “In the past we’ve said, ‘We can do this,’ but this time we believed it, and we did it.”

FRIDAY’S SUMMARY
Gophers 30 30 — 60
Illinois 43 43 — 86

Gophers (3-11)
Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Klun 5-9 0-0 10, LeCuyer 0-3 1-2 1, Hansen 3-15 0-0 6, Young 1-3 0-0 2, Olson 1-5 2-2 4, Schieber 1-3 0-0 3, Burns 4-8 1-2 9, Pickens 0-0 0-0 0, Hass 2-3 0-0 6, Seago 0-4 1-2 1, Iverson 5-8 8-8 18. Totals 22-62 13-16 60.
Illinois (11-4)
Catchings 4-6 3-5 11, Berggren 5-9 8-10 18, Sheeler 7-12 2-2 16, Parker 0-1 0-1 0, Albers 2-2 3-4 7, Dexter 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Vandertop 0-0 0-0 0, Guarneri 0-1 0-0 0, Zurek 0-0 1-2 1, Reinking 3-5 2-2 9, Bond 0-10-0 0, Vasey 2-4 0-0 4, Coleman 1-4 4-4 6, Leonhardt 6-8 2-4 14. Totals 30-53 25-34 86.
3-point goals — Minnesota 3-10 (LeCuyer 0-1, Hansen 0-3, Schieber 1-3, Hass 2-3), Illinois 1-6 (Sheeler 0-1, Parker 0-1, Guarneri 0-1, Reinking 1-2, Coleman 0-1). Fouled Out — Burns. Rebounds — Minnesota 28 (Iverson 8), Illinois 42 (Sheeler 9). Assists — Minnesota 13 (Hansen 6), Illinois 23 (Berggren 7). Total fouls — Minnesota 22, Illinois 14. A-3,436.

SUNDAY’S SUMMARY
Gophers 43 38 — 81
Mich. St. 32 41 — 73

Gophers (4-11)
Robinson 5-6 0-0 10, LeCuyer 7-10 4-8 18, Klun 0-2 0-0 0, Hansen 2-4 4-6 8, Young 0-3 2-3 2, Olson 1-8 0-0 3, Schieber 3-7 0-0 9, Burns 3-8 9-12 15, Hass 2-6 2-3 6, Iverson 5-6 0-0 10, Pickens 0-0 0-0 0, Seago 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-60 21-32 81.
Michigan State (7-9)
Dalgaard 3-9 1-2 7, Engen 0-1 4-6 4, Rasmussen 2-6 6-7 10, Reese 4-12 7-9 18, Wesley 2-7 3-4 7, Davis 1-3 0-0 2, Pung 1-1 0-0 2, Cummings 1-1 4-5 6, Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Skelly 5-7 2-3 12, Winberg 0-1 3-4 3. Totals 20-51 30-40 73.
3-point goals — Minnesota 4-14 (Schieber 3-7, Olson 1-4, Hass 0-2, Young 0-1). Michigan State 3-14 (Reese 3-9, Daalgard 0-2, Rasmussen 0-1, Wesley 0-1, Johnson 0-1) Fouled out — Klun, Iverson, Dalgaard. Rebounds — Minnesota 38 (Hansen 7), Michigan State 37 (Engen, Rasmussen 7). Assists — Minnesota 18 (Burns 7), Michigan State 8 (Reese, Davis 2). Total fouls — Minnesota 29, Michigan State 26. A-2,683.