Roysland returns, but Minnesota gets the win

If Wednesday nightâÄôs game had been a competition between former GophersâÄô guard Kelly Roysland and current senior guard Emily Fox for the hearts of the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball fans, it would have ended with mixed results. Roysland returned to Williams Arena as an assistant coach for North Dakota State on Wednesday night, and at the mention of her name, the ovation was, by far, the loudest of all the introductions, including FoxâÄôs. âÄúIt was awesome,âÄù Roysland said. âÄúComing back to a place that means so much to me and to receive a welcome like I did, it really makes a person feel good, and appreciate how great my time here was.âÄù But by the end of the first half, FoxâÄôs career night on defense and stellar offensive distribution sent the Gophers (2-1 overall) on their way to their second win of the season and put the crowd back in FoxâÄôs corner. Fox scored 15 points in the game, surpassing Roysland on the GophersâÄô all-time career points list and Minnesota won 68-56, outplaying NDSU (0-2) in every statistical category. Fox knocked down shots on the first two possessions of the game, and the Gophers jumped out to a 5-0 lead, never to relinquish it. Minnesota led by 16 points at the half, as the GophersâÄô defense didnâÄôt allow a two-point field goal from the Bison until 15 minutes into the game. Fox played especially well defensively in the first half collecting six steals and making smart passes in transition, leading to five assists as well. Fox led the team with nine points in the half, while junior guard Katie Ohm and freshman guard Kiara Buford each added eight, allowing the Gophers to lead 41-25 at the half. âÄúOne of our emphases was to get up in the passing lanes,âÄù Fox said. âÄúThat was something I had struggled with, but I finally did it this game. It felt like we got better in the first half.âÄù It wasnâÄôt a flawless half of basketball however, as Minnesota scored just one basket on nine attempts with its centers. The rest of the team shot a collective 55.5 percent from the field, but coach P am Borton said the Gophers would need more production from their centers. âÄúWe expect a lot more out of them,âÄù she said. The play around the basket improved a little bit in the second half, but as a team, Minnesota struggled to score. The Gophers shot just 30 percent in the second half, but applied enough defensive pressure and received enough offensive output from Ohm, who scored nine points in the half, including 4-of-4 shooting from the free throw line, to put the game away. Ohm finished with a game-high 17 points . âÄúDown the stretch our team has to play better in the second half,âÄù Ohm said. âÄúI think I should have shot better today too. ThatâÄôs my role on the team and I need to do that.âÄù