EVANSTON, ILL. – After a 70-49 loss to Northwestern on Sunday, the Gophers women’s basketball team is in a full-fledged slump.
Since a school-record 16-2 start, the Gophers (17-5, 6-4 Big Ten) have lost three of four, and in the one victory they had to come back to beat Penn State at home.
They began the second half of conference play by committing 22 turnovers — including 13 in the second half — and shooting only 9-for-35 from inside the three-point arc.
“We were just flat all the way around,” coach Marlene Stollings said.
It was the Gophers’ worst loss and lowest point total of the season.
To add insult to injury, a major snowstorm hit the Chicago area on Sunday, and the second half was delayed several minutes because of a leak in the roof of Welsh-Ryan Arena.
It doesn’t get any easier as the Gophers next travel to Illinois, where they haven’t won since 2009.
After Carlie Wagner’s three-pointer gave the Gophers a 17-12 lead seven minutes into the game against Northwestern, the Wildcats closed the half on a 25-10 run. They then opened the second half with an 8-0 run to make it 45-27, and the Gophers never got closer than 13 points after that. Their largest deficit was 22 points, 62-40, with 5:46 left in the game.
The game hardly resembled Northwestern’s heartbreaking 102-99 loss to Iowa on Thursday when the two teams combined for a NCAA-record 32 three-pointers. The Wildcats got back to defense, holding an opponent under 50 points for the 10th time this season.
Hopkins High School product Nia Coffey, coming off a 35-point effort against Iowa, had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks for Northwestern (15-6, 5-5). Christen Inman led all scorers with a season-high 20 points. She also added five assists and two steals. Ashley Deary had nine assists and hounded Big Ten assists leader Shayne Mullaney, who committed eight turnovers.
Amanda Zahui B. was held to 13 points, seven below her Big Ten average, and had 15 rebounds. The Gophers’ second-leading scorer, Shae Kelley, shot 2-for-11 from the field.
Wagner led the Gophers with 14 points.