No Fox, no problem as Minnesota wins second exhibition

Minnesota may not have to worry about scoring this year. The Gophers womenâÄôs basketball team put up 75 points in the 75-49 exhibition win over Minnesota State Moorhead Sunday, and did so without the teamâÄôs leading scorer, senior guard Emily Fox. Fox warmed up for the exhibition game, but did not play due to foot discomfort. âÄúWeâÄôre just trying to play it smart,âÄù head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWe have a lot of games coming up that are more important than todayâÄôs exhibition game.âÄù The Gophers still managed to play with an up-tempo offense without Fox âÄî something they struggled with when Fox would leave the game last year. Minnesota primarily used a four-out offense, isolating the post and using cuts and screens to open up shots from the outside. Borton said that the Gophers could be using this offense more as the season progresses. âÄúI think thatâÄôs where the gameâÄôs going,âÄù Borton said. âÄúI think itâÄôs exciting because weâÄôre going to be able to spread the floor out a little more, and give our true center some room to work, and give our guards room to penetrate and play the game.âÄù Senior guard Kay Sylva, most known for her defense, provided a spark offensively, both by driving to the basket and by shooting from the outside, and led the Gophers with nine first-half points, finishing the game with 14. Sylva replaced Fox in the starting lineup and stepped in smoothly. âÄúI was nervous,âÄù she said. âÄúI love coming off the bench but itâÄôs different when I have to set the tone coming into the game.âÄù Off the bench, freshman Jackie Voigt also provided Minnesota with some offense, knocking down a pair of threes and adding eight points in the half. Voigt finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Defensively, the Gophers were extremely aggressive, allowing for Moorhead to drive and dish to the outside. But the Dragons shot just 27 percent from three-point range, and Minnesota rebounded well, allowing just one offensive board in the first half. The Gophers, meanwhile, grabbed eight offensive rebounds, and took advantage of the extra shots to open up a 37-29 lead going into the half. Minnesota improved the defense in the second half, holding the Dragons scoreless for nine minutes to mount a 26-point lead with 7:45 left in the game. Freshman forward Brianna Mastey contributed with a pair of blocks and a pair of steals, but also added to the game offensively, posting 11 points, 7 in the second half. âÄúWe picked up our energy a little bit,âÄù Mastey said. âÄúWe were a little low in the first half but we picked it up and kept it up in the second half, and thatâÄôs what helped us get through the game.âÄù Freshman guard Kiara Buford was the GophersâÄô fourth scorer in double digits, as she collected 11 off the bench as well.