Minnesota lost in front a packed house at the Barn to #8 UConn 62-44. The Gophers dropped to 3-1 on the season. Mara Braun led all scorers with 12.
But UStreet, they lost by 18 what do you mean that missed an opportunity? I am glad you asked hypothetical reader. Minnesota trailed 26-23 at halftime. They forced UConn into 13 turnovers for the game, and seven of those in the first half. The Gophers held UConn to 44% from the floor and the Huskies shot just 20% from distance (3/15) and had only 11 free throw attempts. Defensively for most of the game, the Gophers looked more than up to the task of pulling off an upset.
Unfortunately, basketball requires that you score points in addition to preventing your opponent from scoring. On that note, the Gophers were miserable. The Gophers were 17-65 from the field and just 6-34 from distance. That is heinous shooting. Mara Braun, Grace Grocholski, and Mallory Heyer combined to go 12-49 from the field and were the only Gophers in double figures. As a team, they shot just six free throws, making on four. Oh, four happened to be the number of points the team scored in the entirety of the third quarter. Despite turning UConn over 13 times, the Gophers only managed five points off turnovers. Minnesota also turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 13 points for the Huskies.
Now, it would be one thing if UConn’s defense was the second coming of the 2019 Texas Tech Men’s Meat Grinder. Then sure, 44 points for a team still growing into their new system under Coach Plitzuweit would be reasonable. Except, UConn very much isn’t. While the Huskies were physical and did a good job cutting off driving lanes, for much of the game the Gophers had good and open shots in rhythm. They just refused to fall. Supposing that the Gophers shot their average for the first three games from distance, and this game would have gone to overtime. Going forward, the lack of success from three is going to break any chance of post season play.
I am excited about what is happening on the defensive side of the floor. Too bad the Gophers are nowhere near the same level on offense.
Minnesota next plays Cal State Northridge on Wednesday.