Gophers blown out at Michigan, drop double OT game to Badgers

The Gophers’ losing streak was extended to six on Sunday afternoon.

by Aleutian Calabay

The GophersâÄô losing streak was extended to six on Sunday afternoon as they were crushed by Michigan, 74-40. The Wolverines (14-8 overall, 6-7 Big Ten) dominated nearly every statistical category, including shooting 55 percent from the field compared to the GophersâÄô 24 percent. The only positive Minnesota (11-12, 4-8) can take away from this game is forcing Michigan into 24 turnovers. But the Gophers committed 22 turnovers themselves and finished with only five assists. Despite the 34-point loss âÄî the largest of the season for the Gophers âÄî the first half was extremely competitive. The lead continued to bounce back and forth with Minnesota taking a 16-13 lead midway through the half. The Wolverines soon grabbed all momentum as they finished the first half on a 16-4 run. Momentum continued in MichiganâÄôs favor into the second half as they began to pull away on a 19-4 run to open the half. The Wolverines only continued to extend their lead from there as they shot 74 percent from the field in the second half. âÄúI think they came out of the locker room in the second half and quickly scored on their first five possessions, and we never recovered,âÄù Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWhen things started going tough out there, we didnâÄôt handle it very well.âÄù The Gophers did not have a single player reach double figures in scoring. They were led by China Antoine who finished the game with seven points. Zoe Harper finished with six points, and Kiara Buford and Katie Ohm each chipped in five points. The Minnesota bench outscored their starters 22-18. âÄúWe have to be able to make layups to open things up for our guards. If not, it puts a lot of pressure on our guards to make perimeter shots,âÄù Borton said. Michigan was led by Carmen Reynolds, who had a game-high 19 points. Krista Philips finished the game with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Dayeesha Hollins added 10 points for the Wolverines. Before the humiliating loss to Michigan, the GophersâÄô weekend got off to a rough start Thursday when Wisconsin handed Minnesota a double-overtime loss as St. Paul native Alyssa Karel hit a last-second layup after a Minnesota turnover to steal a victory at Williams Arena. What made the loss so tough to take was that Minnesota was forced to continually battle back all game long. Minnesota shot only 18 percent in the first half, falling behind by as many as 13 points. The Gophers came out aggressive in the second half against the Badgers and slowly chipped away at their lead. It looked as though it would be too little, too late until a China Antoine 3-pointer with .07 seconds remaining sent the game into overtime. Minnesota built small leads in each overtime period but could not make a game-clinching basket when they needed it, opening the door for Karel to win the game for the Badgers. Even though the loss was unfortunate for the Gophers, they still showed marked improvement in several categories, including shooting 44 percent from the field in the second half and returning to solid defensive form in forcing Wisconsin into 22 turnovers. It was that apparent improvement that makes the loss to Michigan another step in the wrong direction for Minnesota. âÄúWe looked like we were regrouping against Wisconsin,âÄù Borton said. âÄúWeâÄôve just been going through a rough patch and we have to figure out how to get through this.âÄù The GophersâÄô next chance to end their losing streak will come next Thursday as they travel to Penn State. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.