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SUBWAY CLASSIC GOPHERS 85, OHIO 40

U women lead by 44 at half, crush Ohio

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT
  • Star Tribune
  • November 17, 2012 - 7:40 PM

TODAY'S GAMES

At Williams Arena

• UNLV vs. Ohio, 11 a.m.

• Gophers vs. Maine, 2 p.m.

No TV (1500-AM)

As she perused the stats sheet at halftime Saturday, Pam Borton saw the kinds of numbers that ought to make a coach smile. The Gophers led Ohio 60-16 while shooting 72 percent, outrebounding their opponents 24-9 and holding the Bobcats to two field goals.

Still, Borton wasn't about to congratulate her team when it had 20 minutes left to play. The Gophers coach wanted to see her players maintain their focus and ferocity through a full game during this weekend's Subway Classic at Williams Arena. Ultimately, she felt some satisfaction at the end of an 85-40 thrashing of the Bobcats, as the Gophers moved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

While their shooting cooled in the second half, their commitment did not. The Gophers' relentless defense held the Bobcats to 22 percent shooting, blocked eight shots and stole the ball 16 times. After running up the largest halftime lead in program history, 44 points, the Gopehrs led by as many as 49 in the second half.

Rachel Banham started the barrage by making her first three shots, all from three-point range, and finished with a game-high 18 points. The Gophers will play Maine, which beat Nevada-Las Vegas by seven, for the Subway Classic title Sunday.

"There was nothing positive said in the locker room [at halftime],'' said Borton, now one victory short of 200 for her Gophers career. "It's really hard when you're up by 40 points to go out and not be lackadaisical. Going in there and being tough on them, I was trying to keep the team focused. That was the challenge.

"It was a great sign for me to see as a coach, that no matter what the score was, the intensity level stayed the same, the focus was the same. That's really, really hard to do.''

That seemed to be the only thing the Gophers found difficult Saturday. After Ohio made a free throw to take a 1-0 lead, the Gophers hit five shots in a row -- including Banham's trio of threes -- during a 13-point run.

While the Gophers made 14 of their first 16 field-goal attempts, the Bobcats missed their first five tries and turned the ball over six times before making their first shot with 14 minutes, 44 seconds left in the first half. They would go more than 12 minutes before making another, misfiring on 13 shots in the interim.

During that time, the Gophers' lead grew to 52-10. Banham made seven of nine field-goal attempts in the game, including four of five from three-point range.

Katie Loberg made a grand return after missing the first two games because of a knee injury, finishing with 12 points on six-of-eight shooting. She also had five rebounds and two blocked shots in 13 minutes of play. Freshman point guard Shayne Mullaney also shined, making four of five shots and recording eight assists.

Maine 74, UNLV 67: Maine earned its first victory of the season in Saturday's second game of the Subway Classic, defeating Nevada-Las Vegas 74-67 to earn a place in Sunday's title game against the Gophers.

Maine (1-3) took a 15-13 lead with 9:07 left in the first half on its way to a 26-22 halftime lead. The Black Bears led by as many as 13 points in the second half.

Ashleigh Roberts led Maine with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Kelli Thompson scored 24 for UNLV.

Ionescu leaves program

The Gophers announced Saturday that sophomore guard Alex Ionescu has quit the team. She will return to her native Romania at the end of the semester. Ionescu played in 10 games as a freshman, scoring three points in 27 minutes. She had not played this season.

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