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Minnesota opens conference play with a win over Purdue 60-58

Kelly Hagenson,

Minnesota defeated Purdue following Amaya Battle’s clutch free throws with three seconds to play. With the win, the Gophers are now 1-0 in conference play and 9-1 on the season. Mara Braun led all scorers with 21 points. Highlights below.

Yes we are late on covering this. Someone from the blog commentariat is welcome to sponsor us via a NIL so that we can get Big Ten Plus in a legal manner. For that matter, the Big Ten could put more women’s games on regular BTN or BTN alternate channels. As a result, I am once again providing some reflections after some interesting methods to watch the replay.

Shooting is going to make or break this team.

Frankly, Minnesota should have lost this game after a brutal third quarter that called to mind the Achilles’s heel of the Whalen era. The Gophers had just 13 points in the quarter and did not attempt a single three pointer. Perhaps the last fact was beneficial because Minnesota was just 5-19 from distance. That is heinous shooting, and even more galling because the three point shot is meant to be a strength of this team. The Gophers will lose to teams that they are better than this year because of poor shooting. They have already lost once this season for exactly that reason.

I felt bad for Jeanae Terry

Extra kudos to Amaya Battle for a fantastic read on the back screen to realize that Purdue’s game winner play was going to involve a cross court pass. Her being fouled to sink free throws on the other hand was clearly an unfortunate lapse from Purdue’s Jaenae Terry.

Look, wins are wins. Ugly, pretty, whatever. Still some part of me hates when a game end because of a mental lapse. Terry’s foul on battle with three seconds to play is a simple mental error. The teams deserved to go to overtime, but deserve ain’t got nothing to do with it.

Grace Grocholski is going to have to learn to find her own shot

It turns out that when you win Big Ten Freshmen of the Week your opponent develops a game plan to stop you. Grocholski had just four shot attempts against the Boilermakers, finishing with just two points. Purdue blanketed the first year player, keeping her away from catch and shoot situations.

Mallory Heyer’s stat sheet

12 rebounds is excellent from Heyer. 3 points less so. Heyer was 1-8 from the field, and 1-5 from distance. She should have had a double-double if she had just shot her average from the field. Let’s hope this is just a blip.

The Gophers next play Grambling State on Wednesday at what I’m going to call Brunch in the Barn.