Accustomed to playing in front of large crowds that frustrate opponents at Williams Arena, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team got a taste of its own medicine Wednesday night.
No. 21 New Mexico blew out the 10th-ranked Gophers 62-44 in front of an announced crowd of 11,413 at University Arena in Albuquerque, N.M.
“I give a lot of credit to New Mexico,” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “They came out ready to play and I thought they played better in every category than we did.”
The Gophers (4-1) were in the game throughout the majority of the first half, swapping leads with the Lobos over the first 15 minutes.
But after a three-pointer from Kelly Roysland with just less than six minutes remaining, which gave the Gophers a 17-16 lead, New Mexico took off.
The Lobos went on a 10-0 run, led by two three-pointers by Katie Montgomery to take a 27-16 lead.
New Mexico kept an 11-point advantage going into halftime, leading 34-23.
“They went on a run and we didn’t recover from it,” Borton said. “I think we lost our poise and our composure.”
Montgomery hit four three-pointers and finished with a game-high 16 points.
Minnesota started second half better, as April Calhoun and Shannon Bolden each hit a three-point basket early on to cut the Lobos lead to 38-29.
But that was as close as the Gophers would get.
The Lobos were able to hit shots Minnesota didn’t, shooting 44 percent from the field and holding the Gophers to a dismal 28 percent from the field while stretching their lead to as many as 20 points.
“The crowd noise really rushed us into our offense,” Roysland said. “We had a tough time buying a basket.”
Shannon Schonrock, the Gophers’ best three-point option, struggled from beyond the arc, going 0-6.
But it wasn’t just Schonrock. As a team, Minnesota went 4-20 on three-pointers.
“They made us shoot the ball from the outside, and we weren’t able to knock down too many threes” Roysland said.
Junior forward Jamie Broback came off the bench to be effective in spurts for Minnesota, scoring four consecutive points with less than 13 minutes remaining to make the score 47-33, and then took a defensive charge.
She also finished with a career-high 13 rebounds.
But Broback was in foul trouble throughout most of the game. She picked up her fourth personal with 8:30 remaining, forcing Borton to put her on the bench.
The Lobos’ defensive pressure held Minnesota’s starters to just 14 combined points.
“We needed some people that were scoring at the end of the game scoring at more crucial points,” Borton said.
Lauren Lacey came off the bench and was the only Gophers player in double figures with 12 points.