Minnesota improved to 6-1 on the season after defeating Norfolk State 74-34 at Williams Arena. The Gophers have only played one team with a pulse this season but have done what they should have done against the cupcake competition. Three players were in double figures, and Minnesota had 17 assists on 26 made field goals.
Since this was a game on Big Ten Plus against poor competition (which meant I had to find some creative ways to watch it), I will give five takeaways from the game instead of a quarter-by-quarter breakdown.
- Grace Grocholski had the best game of her nascent career. The true freshman had 26 points on 9-14 shooting, including 5-8 from distance in 33 minutes. Offensively, the Gophers under Coach Plitzuweit are more than willing to let it fly in the secondary break. As a result, Grocholski has been extremely chucker, so it was nice to see most of them falling. Minnesota had nine three-pointers for the game.
- Mara Braun is going through a bit of a shooting rough patch. The sophomore went 3-12 from the field and just 1-9 from distance (\vomits). However, her defense was strong throughout the game, and she forced five steals and added three rebounds. The shots will fall because Braun is too good of a player, but this should be an area of concern for fans as the season continues. For this game, Grocholski’s shooting meant that the duo shot a respectable 6-17 from distance. Minnesota will struggle to beat any competitive team if both of them are playing poorly (like at UConn). To put a more positive spin on that fact, if both Braun and Grocholski are shooting well, the Gophers can play with any team in the conference.
- Sophie Hart continues to give good minutes at the center position. Hart had a satisfactory performance in the post in 22 minutes of action, which is what I want to see out of the center in this offense.
- 13/17 from the foul line is perfectly acceptable.
- I like how much the defense has improved year over year with most of the same players. By the middle of the conference season, I predict that defensively, the Gophers will frustrate all but the best teams in the conference on the defensive end of the floor. The question for any post-season aspirations will be whether they can hit the numerous open threes that the offense can produce.
Minnesota next plays Drake at Williams on Sunday.