This is not to overlook all the wonderful things so many members of the Gophers women's basketball team did on the Williams Arena floor Saturday:
The job Janay Sanders did taking over after Amaya Battle fouled out. Sophie Hart's efficiency, Grace Grocholski's passing, Mallory Heyer's incessant pounding of the boards to name a few.
But: Mara Braun.
In the Gophers' come-from-behind, 94-88 double-overtime victory over Drake, here is a short list of the things Braun did:
She scored 33 points, including all nine for Minnesota in the first OT, 14 of the team's 20 after regulation. She became the third player in program history to play 50 minutes in a game. Pressed into ball-handling duties during crunch time after Battle fouled out in the fourth quarter, Braun ended up with four assists and zero turnovers.
Fifty minutes, zero turnovers.
She wouldn't let the Gophers lose.
"I was kind of telling Mal, I was kind of feeling it in the first overtime," Braun said, looking at Heyer, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. "But then, eventually I was like, 'All right, I made it this far, just finish the game.' "
In a game in which 11 players on the two teams scored in double figures — including Drake's Katie Dinnebier, who scored 30 points and ran an offense that stymied the Gophers (7-1) for the first 30-plus minutes — Braun stood out.
And it couldn't have come at a better time. The team's leading scorer had struggled with her shot in recent games. Not with her game — she has rebounded and shared the ball well — but with her shot, going 7-for-27 overall and 3-for-16 on three-pointers in the past two games. Saturday she shot 10-for-23 from the floor, including 4-for-9 on three-pointers, and 9-for-9 on free throws — she is 27-for-27 from the line this season.
And frankly, the Gophers needed all of it.
"We got the ball in her hands later in the game, used some ball screens for her to make decisions," coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. "She scored but also passed the ball really well. She made a lot of good things happen down the stretch. That's what she's capable of doing."
Running its well-oiled motion offense, Drake (5-3) was shooting over 50% and leading by 11 after Dinnebier's two free throws with 7:50 left in regulation. But then, things changed. From that point to the end of the fourth quarter, the Gophers got six points from Hart (12 points, eight rebounds), four from Sanders (10 points, four steals) and points from four other players in a 20-9 run that forced OT on Sanders' fast-break layup. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs went 9-for-24 overall and 3-for-12 on three-pointers over the final 18 minutes of the game.
And Braun took over. With the Gophers up two, Braun's three-point play put the Gophers up five with 1:47 left in the first overtime. Her jumper with 23 seconds left put them up three only to have Anne Miller (17 points) hit a three to force a second OT.
The second OT was tied at 86-86 when Braun fed Hart for a score. Sanders' steal was turned into two Braun free throws with 2:33 left. Heyer rebounded Miller's missed three, then hit a massive shot at the other end, a step-back midrange that put the Gophers up six with 1:51 left.
For all the scoring, it was the Gophers defense that changed the game's momentum. Getting stops led to more offense in the flow, making it difficult for Drake to set up its zone defense.
"As the game wore on, we got tougher," Plitzuweit said. "We got better defensively. We showed a lot of resilience."
Braun showed a lot of, well, everything.
"I think it's kind of natural for me to be able to lock in at the end of games like that," she said.
Said Heyer: "She just came out and she dominated. She gave our team momentum."
Then Heyer turned and looked at Braun, saying, "I'm so proud of you."