Gophers fall to 3-4 with loss to No. 20 Nebraska

The Huskers went on a 20-0 run to end the first half and start the second half.

Minnesota guard Kiara Buford charged past Michigan forward Annalize Pickrel Thursday night at Williams Arena. Minnesota won 71-65 with Buford scoring 22 points of the game.

Marisa Wojcik

Minnesota guard Kiara Buford charged past Michigan forward Annalize Pickrel Thursday night at Williams Arena. Minnesota won 71-65 with Buford scoring 22 points of the game.

Betsy Helfand

An inability to score from the paint without forward Katie Loberg plagued Minnesota in a loss to No. 20 Nebraska on Sunday. The Huskers pulled away in the last five minutes of the first half to a lead it did not relinquish in its 64-49 victory.

The Gophers fell to 3-4 in the Big Ten with the loss (11-10 overall).

âÄúWe didnâÄôt attack the basket like we were supposed to,âÄù assistant coach Curtis Loyd said in a postgame radio show.

Loberg scored seven quick points and grabbed six rebounds, helping the Gophers keep pace in an up-tempo first 10 minutes of the game.

She committed two fouls and exited the game with 10:06 left in the first half. By the time Loberg re-entered with 3:15 left, the Huskers had already begun to pull away.

Point guard Rachel BanhamâÄôs jumper at the 4:48 mark cut NebraskaâÄôs lead to 27-23.

MinnesotaâÄôs scoring then stalled as Nebraska went on a 20-0 run that gave it a 24-point lead. Kiara Buford finally stopped the bleeding for Minnesota when she hit a jump shot with 14:20 left in the second half.

The Gophers went on a 9-0 run near the end of the second half, but by that time, the game had seemingly already been decided.

After Banham and BufordâÄôs last two games, Loyd said the coaches expected the guards to be heavily defended. He said that the team knew there would be an opportunity for someone else to step up, âÄúbut they didnâÄôt do it tonight.âÄù

Banham led the team with 13 points, and Buford contributed nine of her own, but the rest of the team contributed just 27 more points in MinnesotaâÄôs lowest scoring game of the season.

âÄúThey were closing down the lane and we had good shots inside, but we just couldnâÄôt knock shots down,âÄù forward Brianna Mastey said on the postgame show.

Minnesota was also unable to generate scoring from outside the arc. Banham hit the teamâÄôs only 3-pointer on the night in four team attempts.

Nebraska (16-3, 5-2 Big Ten) was able to expose holes in MinnesotaâÄôs perimeter defense as it shot 8-for-28 from 3-point range.

Turnovers âÄî another persistent problem for the Gophers this season âÄî also played a large role in the teamâÄôs loss.

âÄúThatâÄôs a tough team, and theyâÄôre going to really take advantage of turnovers and second-chance points,âÄù Loyd said.

Minnesota committed 19 turnovers and only grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to NebraskaâÄôs 22. 

Forward Jackie Voigt collided with NebraskaâÄôs Brandi Jeffery in the last few minutes of the game. She appeared to have hit her neck in the collision diving for a ball near half court. She did not return to the game.

Minnesota will next host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 26.