The schoolkids in attendance Wednesday afternoon for field-trip day at Williams Arena learned a good lesson in math: One quarter doesn’t equal a full game.
The Gophers women’s basketball team lost its first home game of the season, falling to New Mexico 72-53 after a strong start.
Minnesota led 16-12 in front of the announced 4,613 fans, many of them arriving on school buses, at the end of the first quarter. But New Mexico took over from there, outscoring Minnesota by eight in the second quarter and not relinquishing the lead. The Gophers (6-3) scored just 22 second-half points to the Lobos’ 37.
“One of the keys for us was to rebound and we didn’t do that very well,” Gophers coach Marlene Stollings said. “... I thought that we didn’t fight as hard and play as tough as we needed to. I thought when things didn’t go our way or we missed some shots we reacted too negatively to that. We’ve got to mature and not respond in a bad way when things aren’t going our way.
“We didn’t really stay in it. We didn’t fight in those moments when things weren’t going our way collectively as a team. … We’re better than that and we have to learn and grow from this very quickly.”
This is just the third home loss for the Gophers in 20 games the past two seasons.
Minneapolis native Khadijah Shumpert (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) was the star for New Mexico, scoring a career-high 27 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
“Khadijah was phenomenal,” New Mexico coach Yvonne Sanchez said. “I am so proud of her, especially on a stage with all of her family and friends. She deserved every bit of it.”
The 6-foot senior forward was 10-for-13 from the field.
Rachel Banham scored 22 points in the loss, her ninth consecutive 20-plus game. Carlie Wagner added 16 points (but hit just six of 23 shots) to go with seven rebounds.
New Mexico (7-3) outrebounded the Gophers 48-36 and shot 41.2 percent from the field while the Gophers shot just 30 percent.