Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Gophers women’s basketball defeats Rutgers, loses to Michigan in Big Ten Tournament

The Gophers women’s basketball team earned their first tournament victory in four years.
Image by CJ Bonk
The Gophers still have the opportunity to play in the postseason.

Target Center typically hosts the Minnesota Lynx and Timberwolves for basketball, but on Wednesday and Thursday, it was home to the Golden Gophers. 

The Gophers women’s basketball team earned their first postseason victory in four years in the first-ever sold-out Big Ten women’s basketball tournament. The team defeated Rutgers on Wednesday but fell in round two against Michigan. 

March 6

Amaya Battle was the star on Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 32 points, the most by any Minnesota player in Big Ten tournament history.

Throughout the game, Battle was everywhere on the court, getting rebounds, passing and scoring from all areas on the court. Not once did she give up the ball.

Battle said she knew everything she needed to know going into the game. Her coaches’ expectations were clear and the scouting report was made known to her so her mindset going into the game was minimal.

“I kind of just came into the game with a blank mind,” Battle said. “I think it really helped that I wasn’t overthinking.”

The matchup was a back-and-forth battle on the scoreboard. Rutgers forward Destiny Adams put up one point less than Battle.

Battle’s jump shot is a skill she said she has been working on since last season ended. She hit her only 3-point attempt of the night and her teammate Mara Braun turned to her and said, “I knew you were feeling it because you never do that.”

This was the moment Battle knew she was going to have a high-scoring night.

At no point did the Scarlet Knights let the scoring margin get too high. The team worked on shooting leading up to the game and had multiple players scoring from different parts of the court, ultimately leading them to build confidence heading into next season. 

“I think we knew what we had to do,” Adams said. “I’m really glad we went out there and shot well, just like we practiced.”

March 7

The Gophers were physically outmatched against Michigan, which proved to be a driving force behind their loss. 

The physical nature of Michigan’s play led the Gophers to commit 16 turnovers. 

Gophers head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said her team’s “toughness” carried them through the second half when in the first quarter the physical energy was a rude awakening. Sophomore Mallory Heyer demonstrated her aggression on the boards when she picked up a career-high 17 rebounds.

Michigan’s size advantage proved to be too much for the Gophers as they ended their season with a final score of 76-57, but Battle managed to identify what she needs to work on to be a more competitive player next season.

“I want to work on getting stronger,” Battle said.

Adversity hit the Gophers when three of their players were out for injury, two of them being starters and the other the leading scorer, all with a new coaching staff. Even with the adversity, the team walked away with an opportunity for growth.

“We’ve all learned toughness goes a long way,” Heyer said.

What’s next

The Gophers still have the opportunity to play in the postseason in either the NCAA Tournament, The Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) or the Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT).

“I think they’ve earned that opportunity, and I’m really excited for them,” Plitzuweit said.

Selection for the tournaments begins later this month.

For now, the Gophers will take a few days off to rest before coming back to work on fundamental basketball. The team has the opportunity to return several players with 11 underclassmen.

Plitzuweit said she cracked a smile when she saw there were three freshmen and two sophomores out on the floor doing “good things.”

“They were playing their guts out,” Plitzuweit said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *