Despite an up-and-down season, Williams Arena had been a safe haven for the Gophers women’s basketball team.
Wednesday, Iowa turned the Barn into a house of horrors.
The Hawkeyes controlled the game from the get-go in a 64-56 victory over the Gophers that was never quite as close as the final score suggests.
It was Iowa’s second victory over Minnesota this season. Coming into the game, the Gophers had been 10-2 at the Barn, 2-1 in Big Ten play.
“It was very disappointing and a very poor display of basketball tonight from our team, especially offensively,” Gophers coach Pam Borton said.
Three days after an abysmal 30-point loss at No. 13 Penn State, the Gophers (13-9, 2-6 Big Ten) shot only 33.8 percent from the field — and that’s when they held onto the ball, considering they committed 18 turnovers on the night.
The Gophers trailed by 18 points with a little less than two minutes left, before a late surge of offense — after Iowa replaced all its starters — helped narrow the margin.
“We kept them to 64 points, and they’re averaging [81.3] points per game on the year,” Borton said. “But offensively, nothing was going in for us, not even layups.”
Rachel Banham came into the game averaging 27.7 points over her past six games but the Gophers point guard scored only nine points on 3-for-12 shooting. Center Amanda Zahui B. was 4-for-13 from the field and finished with nine points and six rebounds.
The only Gophers in double figures were sophomores Shayne Mullaney and Kayla Hirt, who had 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Four Hawkeyes had between 13 and 10 points and a fifth had nine points. Samantha Logic just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
The bottom line: The Hawkeyes (17-5, 5-3) found ways to score; the Gophers didn’t.
Apart from a short-lived burst to start the second half, the Gophers offense struggled to find any consistency in attacking Iowa’s zone.
And those issues started early. Iowa got off to a 10-2 lead in the opening five minutes. The Gophers trailed by six at the break, but came out on a 9-0 run to start the second half — only to have Iowa follow with a 20-2 run of its own.
The Gophers tried a variety of lineups in the second half, even going with four guards at one point. Nothing worked.
“I thought Micaëlla [Riché] played poorly. I thought Amanda played poorly,” Borton said. “When you start the game like that, and get yourself down the way we did — and we’re getting good shots — sometimes you have to rip up your game plan.”