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Minnesota beats Lehigh 101-99 on a Mara Braun buzzer beater

Christopher Mitchell,

Mara Braun called game at the buzzer to cap off a Minnesota come back at Williams Arena over Lehigh University. The Gophers improve to 2-0 on the season.

It does not take an elite basketball mind to notice that Mara Braun is something special. Arguably the crown jewel of Minnesota’s last recruiting class, Braun has been dominant in both wins so far this season. She finished 12-26 from the field and 5-13 from three point range.

Of course, it would be difficult to write the recap of this game without mentioning the reason that the Gophers were behind for much of it. In the first quarter, they shot just 6-23 of the field, and 0-6 from distance. In the second quarter, those numbers improved to just 36%. For the game, the Gophers had an effective field goal percentage of just 43% on 96 shot attempts. That is bad. If Minnesota is to make any noise this season:

The second half was a coming out party for Braun, who scored 14 points and heavily contributed to a 12-2 run to briefly retake the lead in the third quarter. This is progress because the Whalen era has been all about third quarter collapses. True to form, the Gophers promptly blew that lead to enter the 4th quarter down 6 points.

The fourth quarter was a fun affair for a fan, and a head in hands quarter for the coaching staff. There were five lead changes in the last two minutes of the game. Both teams made lots of shots that frankly should not have gone in. Both teams had impressive turnovers.

Fortunately the last 26 seconds gave a tiny window into what this team could be this season. First Maggie Czinano picked up an offensive rebound (rebounds! in this economy!) and made 1 of two foul shots (subpar!) to cut the lead to a point. On the ensuing Lehigh possession, Katie Borowicz picked a guard’s pocket (very good!) and converted an easy layup to take the lead. Mackenzie Kramer of Lehigh, who had herself a game, scored on the next possession to put the lead back to 1 for Lehigh.

At which point, Mara Braun called game.

Minnesota next plays on Thursday against North Dakota State.