With 51 seconds left in the Gophers women's basketball game at Virginia on Saturday, Katie Borowicz took a pass from Mallory Heyer and hit a three-pointer.
A nine-point Virginia lead with under three minutes left to play had shrunk to one.
The events over the final moments of the game were disappointing, but not surprising, given how the game had gone.
Turnover-prone all afternoon, the Gophers got a stop and the ball back with 19 seconds left. But, out of a timeout, Borowicz's turnover — Minnesota's 22nd of the game — essentially ended the comeback.
At the other end, Virginia's offensive rebound off a missed free throw sealed a 73-70 victory for the unbeaten Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Va.
"Turnovers and offensive rebounds," coach Lindsay Whalen said. "I mean, 22 turnovers. That's tough. It's hard to play against that many off-player rushes going the other way. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball [Sunday]. We have to box out. But taking care of the ball is top of mind."
In their first game this season against a team from a Power Five conference, the Gophers had their chances and their issues.
The Cavaliers (7-0) had a 22-9 edge on points off turnovers, a 15-9 edge on offensive rebounds, an 18-9 edge on second-chance points and they outscored Minnesota 48-30 in the paint. In a game in which both teams shot about 40% that was too much to overcome in the opening game of the Cavalier Classic. The Gophers (3-2) play Liberty (2-2), which lost 72-64 to East Carolina in the second game, on Sunday.
It was not for lack of grit, though, the Gophers lost. Mara Braun finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Sixteen of those points and four of the rebounds came in the fourth quarter, helping the Gophers fight back from a 10-point deficit early in the quarter and a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes.
Amaya Battle had seven points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Braun and Battle accounted for nearly half of Minnesota's 41 rebounds.
Rose Micheaux scored 13 points.
But for all the late-game action, the turning point came relatively early. Minnesota was up 10 late in the first quarter when Micheaux scored with 47 seconds left. Over the next six minutes, into the second quarter, Virginia outscored the Gophers 20-0, with 14 of those points coming off turnovers, as the Cavaliers forged a 31-21 lead.
Virginia, which got 22 points from Camryn Taylor and 17 from Sam Brunelle, never trailed again. Virginia guard Mir McLean had 11 points and 15 rebounds.
"We have to stay more composed," Braun said. "Especially towards the end of it. I think we played really hard. We responded to their runs. It seemed like they'd get up big, it would get loud and we'd respond."
That much is true. They Gophers finished the second quarter strong to pull within four. They were down 10 late in the third quarter, then again early in the fourth, only to pull within two. They were down nine after Brunelle's three with 3:06 left.
But Braun scored on a layup, then she hit a three on the break. Borowicz's three made it a one-point game. But the Gophers couldn't finish the rally,
"It was just what you'd think it would be, with a Big Ten team and an [Atlantic Coast Conference] team," Whalen said. "Just an absolute battle."
The Star Tribune did not send the author of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.