Victory over Michigan State invigorates Gophers women

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 8:41 AM

Kiara Buford shook off her shooting slump and scored 22 points in a game that the U never trailed.

view larger photos

  

Kiara Buford knows how it feels to be the scorer everyone else relies upon. The Gophers guard had seen that responsibility fall to freshman Rachel Banham in the past two games, and she knew it had to end.

Buford had made only six of 26 shots in back-to-back losses to Purdue and Michigan. Thursday, the senior made six of 11, finishing with 22 points to pace the Gophers to a 71-65 victory over Michigan State at Williams Arena. Banham had another strong performance, with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. But this time, she got ample help, with Buford leading the way.

Jackie Voigt added a season-high 11 points, and Micaella Riche came off the bench to contribute nine as the Gophers (11-9, 3-3 Big Ten) found much better balance in their scoring. The victory ended a four-game losing streak to the Spartans (12-7, 4-2) and backed up coach Pam Borton's contention that the Gophers can be very good if every player fulfills her role.

"I've been in Rachel's shoes, being the only one scoring," Buford said. "I really wanted to relieve her of that.

"One of my jobs on the team is to score, and if I'm not doing that, I feel like I'm not giving my team what it needs to be successful. I was glad I was able to hit some shots."

The Gophers never trailed, and they took the lead for good when Riche's two free throws put them ahead 17-15 with 10 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first half. They led by as many as 12 on their way to a 38-27 halftime lead.

Still, they couldn't finish without giving the announced crowd of 3,082 a little drama. With 1:18 remaining, the Gophers led 65-59. Michigan State sent them to the free-throw line 12 times in that final 78 seconds, and the Gophers made only six of those, giving the Spartans plenty of opportunities to pull closer. But Michigan State missed four of five shots down the stretch.

Buford spent some extra time working on her shot the past few days, hoping to get back to form -- and to erase the sting of the Gophers' collapse at Michigan, when they saw a 10-point lead evaporate in the second half. Instead of settling for outside shots, she attacked the rim.

Voigt and Katie Loberg, who combined to make six of seven field-goal attempts, also shored up an inside game that has been spotty this season. The Gophers scored 40 points in the paint.

Michigan State whittled a 14-point Gophers lead to six with 9:43 left. Buford said her team was so tightly focused on its game plan that it didn't leave itself any room to panic. The Spartans got no closer, as the Gophers showed much more poise on a night when several of them took a turn in the spotlight.

"I'm very proud of how we approached this game mentally," Borton said. "We did a great job of attacking the entire night on offense and defense. Kiara got back to her game, and that's just attacking and getting in the lane and doing the things she's really good at.

"This was a great win. We beat a very good team in Michigan State. A lot of people really stepped up, and that's what we need for this team to win."

  • GOPHERS WOMEN 71, MICHIGAN STATE 65 • Up next: 5 p.m. Sunday at No. 20 Nebraska • TV: BTN (88.5-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close