Minnesota set for rematch with Huskers

The Gophers are hoping injured starter Jackie Voigt can return Monday.

Betsy Helfand

 

Coming off its third straight loss, the Minnesota women’s basketball team will take the court Monday night at home and try to avenge an early-season loss against Nebraska.

The Gophers (4-8 Big Ten) have not won since Jan. 29, when they upset then-No. 9 Ohio State, and they will need another near-perfect effort to beat No. 13 Nebraska (8-3).

The two teams squared off earlier this year in Lincoln, Neb., and the Gophers lost 64-49.

The loss was highlighted by a 20-0 run by Nebraska during the middle of the game.

Turnovers were, as usual, a problem in that game; the Gophers committed 19.

After ten minutes of up-tempo play, Minnesota struggled to keep up the pace.

Head coach Pam Borton had said that “playing with more poise,” and “playing our tempo,” will be a critical factor in the game.

Borton said the team hopes starter Jackie Voigt is able to return for Monday’s game.

Voigt suffered a concussion during the second half of the game against the Huskers when she collided with Nebraska’s Brandi Jeffery.

Voigt has been listed as “day-to-day,” by Borton since the injury, even though she has missed the team’s past five games.

“Getting Jackie back is key for us. … She’s a big loss for us, as far as the experience. Post play is a weakness that we have right now without her on the floor,” Borton said.

Kionna Kellogg has started at power forward in place of Voigt. Kellogg is perhaps a better scoring option than Voigt, but she has struggled through foul trouble.

The loss of Voigt has also exposed the team’s lack of depth at power forward.

“We’re playing two post players when Kionna comes out of the game. We’re playing two post players that it’s not a good combination when they’re in the game together right now,” Borton said, referring to Katie Loberg and Micaella Riche.

Loberg and Riche will have to contend on the boards with Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper, the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, who averages 9.3 per game.

The Huskers had their worst offensive game of the season in a 63-52 loss to Michigan on Feb. 9, when they shot just 25.8 percent from the field.

Still, Nebraska will be a challenge for the Gophers. Minnesota is 1-6 on the season against ranked opponents, and the Huskers have moved up seven spots in the rankings since the last time the two teams played.