Gophers lose 67-70 to Nebraska in Big Ten opener

Minnesota wasn’t able to overcome the loss of Jasmine Powell, in its first Big Ten game of the season against the Cornhuskers.

Guard+Sara+Scalia+drives+towards+the+hoop+at+Williams+Arena+on+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+22%2C+2020.

Emily Urfer

Guard Sara Scalia drives towards the hoop at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

by Tony Liebert, Sports Reporter

In a back and forth affair, the Gophers struggled without their veteran point guard, falling 67-70 to Nebraska in their first Big Ten game of the season.

In their first Big Ten contest of the season, the 6-4 Golden Gophers welcomed a red-hot Nebraska team that has reeled off eight consecutive wins to start the season.

Minnesota went into Monday’s conference matchup shorthanded, as starting point guard Jasmine Powell was ruled out due to an ankle injury. Gadiva Hubbard replaced Powell in the Gophers’ starting five.

The Gophers missed Powell’s leadership early. In the first quarter they shot 5-15 from the field, committed six fouls and coughed up four turnovers as a team. The slow start resulted in a 25-14 Nebraska lead after 10 minutes.

Sara Scalia and the Gophers responded in the second quarter. The junior guard had a game-high eight points in the quarter, resulting in a 7-0 into the half. The Gophers cut Nebraska’s lead to 33-31 after 20 minutes.

The third quarter continued to be tightly contested. After Nebraska went on an 11-3 run to start the quarter, the Gophers responded with an 8-0 run to close it.

Kadi Sissoko took over the game near the end of the quarter. Her game-high 11 points in the quarter brought her game total to 21 and the Gophers within one point, trailing 50-49 with only 10 minutes remaining.

The fourth quarter saw three different lead changes and two ties as the game grew older. The Gophers missed their veteran point guard Powell, ultimately coming up short 67-70.

Nebraska found great success in the paint all game, outscoring Minnesota, 42-26 in that area, while the Gophers committed 18 turnovers compared to the Cornhuskers’ 12.

Kadi Sissoko and Sara Scalia were the only two Gophers to score in double figures, scoring 25 and 20 points respectively, the lack of a third offensive option proved to be detrimental for Minnesota.

After falling short to Nebraska, Minnesota moves to 6-5 on the season and its next game will be Sunday, Dec. 12 when it travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Wolverines at 1:00 p.m.