Gophers’ women’s hoops boast the best record of any Big Ten team with a losing conference mark.
Minnesota, 13-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten, has dropped back-to-back conference games – with their only wins coming against the lowly Buckeyes and Badgers (both 1-5 in Big Ten play).
Coach Pam Borton said after Sunday’s game it was her team’s poor defense that led to an 84-63 drubbing against Nebraska at Williams Arena.
It could’ve been the defense which allowed the Huskers to shoot 48 percent from the floor and 53 percent from beyond the arc.
Or it could’ve been the 10-0 spark Nebraska embarked on to start. In that stretch, the Gophers shot 0-for-5 and had two turnovers, before putting points on the board four minutes into the game.
Minnesota responded with a 17-2 run, shooting the ball well and getting to the free throw line.
But like previous losses, the Gophers settled for jumper after jumper and managed to shoot just 32 percent in the second half against the Huskers.
To Borton’s chagrin, Nebraska shot 6-for-8 from the field in the closing minutes as the Gophers sent Husker after Husker to the free throw line.
Nebraska’s 23 free throw attempts dwarf Minnesota’s 10 and it tells the story of a ship going through the Doldrums — a slow, rough patch where they desperately need air in the sails.
They’re capable. Sophomore guard Rachel Banham can be Minnesota’s prevailing gust of wind as she hits buckets from anywhere.
But her shooting slump continues, as she’s shot 13-for-44 in the Gophers’ consecutive losses, including 3-for-15 from deep.
Her team-high 22 shots per game in that stretch shows her coach has faith in the point guard. But Borton needs to place her team’s offensive emphasis elsewhere as Banham works out the kinks.
For example, Banham has put up nearly one-third of her team’s field goal attempts in each of their previous two losses.
One of the five starters takes up 33 percent of the offense shots? Talk about making it easy for opponents to scout an overly obvious Minnesota offense.
Those next few opponents, by the way, include No. 8 Penn State and No. 23 Michigan.