The Gophers’ appetite has grown. Following consecutive losses for the first time this season, Minnesota women’s basketball (16-4, 5-3 Big Ten) will look to get back in the win column Wednesday against Penn State (5-15, 2-7).
“The last two games, we haven’t played like ourselves,” point guard Shayne Mullaney said. “We’re definitely going to play well [Wednesday] and come out hungry.”
The Gophers emphasized they need to limit their turnovers and start fast. They lost to Purdue and Rutgers by a combined seven points, conceding 35 points on 34 turnovers. The Gophers were down 20 against Rutgers on Sunday before they rallied, ultimately losing 66-61.
“We look at that [Purdue] loss and know that we weren’t our best in the first half,” coach Marlene Stollings said, referring to the 50 points her team gave up the first 20 minutes. “Rutgers was exactly what we anticipated. … We really had a chance in the second half. We actually had too many turnovers, something in our control that we didn’t handle well enough.”
The two losses knocked the Gophers out of the top 25 this week after making their first appearance since 2006.
“We don’t like it, I will be very honest,” Stollings said. “The kids are sick about it in the locker room, and they can’t wait until [Wednesday] night. It is uncharted waters.”
They’ll face a Penn State squad that collected its first two Big Ten victories last week to stop an eight-game losing streak.
“The next couple of weeks will be when separation occurs [in the Big Ten], and we’re very well aware of that,” said Stollings, whose Gophers are in five-way tie for third.
“Our focus will remain on us and what we need to do to be in the top part of the conference, which is where we want to be.”