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UMN women’s basketball loses 2 consecutive matchups at home

The Gophers were outscored 96-154 across contests with the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday and the Indiana Hoosiers on Wednesday.
Image by CJ Bonk
Forward Alanna Micheaux shoots during the game against Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 29.

The Gophers tacked on two losses, bringing their record to 9-13 after losing to the University of Michigan on Sunday and Indiana on Wednesday. They now sit at twelfth place in the Big Ten standings.

Minnesota’s offensive performances were riddled with turnovers and poor shooting efforts. When combining the totals from the previously mentioned games, they turned the ball over 50 times and shot 32.2% from the field.

Their next chance to offset the slump will be in Champaign, Illinois, on Sunday against the Fighting Illini.

Jan. 29 vs. Michigan:

The Gophers settled back in their burrow, better known as Williams Arena, after a crushing loss to Purdue. The Michigan Wolverines visited Minnesota’s humble abode Sunday for their following matchup.

The two dirt-digging-mammal-nicknamed schools duked it out, but it was the Wolverines who did the burying. They beat the home-team Gophers 77-41. Minnesota’s final total marked its lowest in a game during Lindsay Whalen’s tenure as head coach.

On Minnesota’s first possession, Maggie Czinano kicked the ball to Alanna Micheaux, who then laid it in for the game’s first points. Minutes later, Michigan forward Cameron Williams and guard Leigha Brown scored their team’s first points, giving them the lead.

From there on out, the climb back into the lead became increasingly difficult for the Gophers.

Michigan’s stout defense on Minnesota’s guards helped support their lead until halftime. They bullied the guards into shooting 21.7% from the field and collected six steals.

Coming out of halftime, the game’s score was 34-23. The 11-point deficit did not seem too daunting for Minnesota. That is until Michigan went on a 17-0 scoring run that stretched across half of the third quarter.

Outside of this span, the Gophers made three field goals off of 10 shots.

The game continued through the fourth quarter at a much slower pace. Michigan pulled its starters from the court with three and a half minutes to go and peacefully ended the contest.

Micheaux finished as Minnesota’s highest and most efficient scorer with 15 points and made 50% of her shots. Three Gophers had a plus-minus of negative 30 or less: Mara Braun, Mallory Heyer and Czinano.

Feb. 1 vs. Indiana:

Early into Wednesday’s game against the Hoosiers, Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes caused Minnesota problems. She attacked the paint on both ends of the court, scoring 10 of her first-quarter points off of lay-ins and hook shots. On defense, she denied shot attempts by Amaya Battle and Micheaux. Holmes finished the game with 28 points (12 from the field) and four blocks.

Indiana attacked Minnesota’s weak interior presence on defense and quickly ran up the score. In the last five minutes of the first quarter, the Hoosiers outscored the Gophers 14-2 and forced seven turnovers.

Their hot hand continued into the second quarter, starting with back-to-back 3-pointers from Indiana guard Sydney Parrish that put the Gophers down by 20. Parrish’s 14 total points helped hold Indiana’s significant lead through the end of the quarter.

Meanwhile, things could not have gone worse for Minnesota. If it weren’t for Mara Braun’s 3-pointer (the team’s first of the night) in the last minute before halftime, the Gophers would have finished the first half with more turnovers (18) than points (17 before Braun’s shot).

Turnovers have been a persistent issue for Minnesota this season, and Wednesday night was no exception. The team finished with a season-high of 29. While Indiana Head Coach Teri Moren admitted after the game that her squad’s 17 turnovers were less than ideal, she was mindful that Minnesota’s “hiccups” stem from their inexperience.

“We have got to be better,” Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen said during the post-game press conference. “In the second half it was even, but obviously 29 is too many.”

Regardless of the turnover ratio, the Gophers’ offense saw improvement post-halftime. They held control of the ball and played confidently, tripling their assist total from the first half (2) in the third quarter (6). Freshmen Katie Borowicz and Battle led the team in assists with five and four, respectively.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, the game was too far out of reach. Their scoring run in the third that cut Indiana’s lead to 14 points proved futile in averting their seemingly inevitable downfall, the final score 77-54.

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