UMN women’s basketball doubles down on victories against Penn State

Carried by Alanna Micheaux’s 30-point double-double, the Gophers beat the Nittany Lions 75-67.

Guard+Amaya+Battle+dribbles+the+ball+down+the+court+during+the+Gophers+game+against+Lehigh%2C+Nov.+13.

Ethan Fine

Guard Amaya Battle dribbles the ball down the court during the Gophers’ game against Lehigh, Nov. 13.

by Theo Franz

Minnesota claimed its second conference win of the season after a victory over Penn State on Wednesday. Sophomore forward Alanna Micheaux’s breakout performance helped tip the Gophers’ point margin far enough to avoid another potential overtime conundrum.

Micheaux’s career night began early into the first quarter when she scored the game’s first four points. But soon as the Gophers spread the ball across the floor, finding other points to attack the basket, production on offense started to stall.

It would take nearly four minutes after Micheaux’s fourth point for the Gophers to make their next basket. Luckily, their defensive effort preserved their lead through the first and prevented the slight scoring drought from causing a deficit.

The second quarter resembled the first with minimal scoring and high-level defense. However, the most significant difference came from the Gophers reshaping their offense around a single objective: feeding the ball to Micheaux.

While Minnesota’s guards took a backseat on offense, they worked cohesively to open the paint for Micheaux. She fought for an additional 10 points to close the half with a seven-point lead.

Sophomore Maggie Czinano then opened the second half with a quick bucket, giving Minnesota their largest lead of the night. But Penn State’s Shay Ciezki swiftly responded with a layup of her own and a three-ball that followed her teammate Makenna Marisa’s.

Penn State’s quick burst on offense shifted the script of the game. Both teams battled back and forth, trading possession of the lead until the final seconds of the third quarter.

With the score tied at 48 and Penn State making it increasingly difficult for Micheaux to find a quality shot, Minnesota needed to take a new approach offensively.

Penn State had shifted their defensive focus toward eliminating Micheaux. This let Amaya Battle find other bigs in the paint and left open shots for Mara Braun throughout the game.

Initially, Braun had a tough time finding the mark. But late into the game, when it mattered the most, she stepped up.

Her jumper with four minutes left in the game pushed Minnesota to a three-possession lead. And when Penn State attempted to make a last-minute comeback by fouling, Braun cashed in all six of her free throws, pushing the final score to 75-67.

Micheaux finished with a career-high 31 points and tied her career-high in rebounds, a personal record she broke in her previous game, with 14.

The team will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the 12-6 Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday at 1 p.m.