Women’s hoops drops two games on weekend trip

by Mark Heller

It was only two weeks ago that Cheryl Littlejohn raved about her team’s scoring potential following a consolation win over Georgetown in the Regal Classic.
Two weeks later, the bottom appears to have dropped out on that offense.
A 56-49 loss to Bradley on Friday and a 64-42 loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sunday dropped the Gophers (2-4) back under .500.
Minnesota’s offense began the season red hot, scoring 70 points in its loss to Ball State.
Since then, the numbers have slowly dwindled down to a Dead Sea-like 22-point loss against the Phoenix.
Littlejohn was hit with a big blow early last week when she learned senior point guard Antoinetta Blevins is lost for the season with an ACL injury.
ACLs are apparently a common issue for the team. Sophomore Cassie VanderHeyden, who is recovering from last year’s torn ACL, was thrust into the starting lineup this weekend in place of Blevins.
Her debut on Friday was an individual success, but Sunday’s game against Green Bay was not fun for her or anyone.
Minnesota shot 21 percent, committed 25 turnovers and had just seven assists. Freshman guard Lindsay Lieser was the only Gopher to shoot 40 percent, finishing with 15 points.
Senior Erin Olson had eight points, three assists and a career-high 11 rebounds.
The Phoenix had three players in double figures, led by Amanda Leonhard’s 16.
On Friday, a three-pointer by VanderHeyden with just over four minutes left in regulation gave the Gophers a 49-48 lead.
That 49-48 lead ended a 56-49 loss.
That equates to four minutes without a point. They shot just 38 percent from the field for the game and committed a season-high 31 turnovers.
Perhaps the most telling story is from the free throw line. In addition to missing shots, the Gophers hit 2-of-8 free throws for the game, none in the second half.
Bradley — although hitting barely half of its attempts — went 15-for-27.
VanderHeyden led Minnesota with a season-high 19 points, the lone Gopher in double figures.
The Gophers will host Ohio University Wednesday night at the Sports Pavilion.

Mark Heller covers women’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]