MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With many new faces on the roster, a trio of
veterans stepped up, allowing Minnesota to beat Princeton 85-60
Saturday in the first round of the Subway Classic.
Senior Kelly Roysland scored 19 points and sophomore Emily Fox
tied a career high with 16 for the Gophers, which ended the game on
a 22-6 run. Junior Leslie Knight added a career-high 13 points.
Meagan Cowher led the Tigers with 18 points. Caitlin O'Neill
scored nine points and Casey Lockwood had eight for Princeton,
which turned the ball over 30 times.
Minnesota (3-0), which has won the tournament six straight
years, will face Middle Tennessee State (1-2) in Sunday's
championship game. Chrissy Givens and Amber Holt each scored 23
points to lead the Blue Raiders to an 87-60 victory over Maine
(1-1) in the other semifinal.
Entering the game, 54 percent of Minnesota's scoring had come
from its freshman class, and three put up significant numbers:
Korinne Campbell had 11 points, Brittany McCoy 10, and Ashley
Ellis-Milan grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds.
"There's no doubt that Leslie with her veteran status, Emmy and
Kelly really step up and make big plays," said Minnesota coach Pam
Borton. "But we've got a lot of people on this team that really
step up at different times of the game. Korinne comes up with a
huge rebound, Ashley comes up with huge boards, Katie Ohm will
stick a three. There's a lot of people buying into the team-first
attitude and finding a way to win."
"We are coming together and getting more used to playing with
each other as the season goes along," Fox said.
A jumper by Fox, a 3-pointer from Roysland and a 3-point play by
Zoe Harper put Minnesota up 19-7 six minutes into the game.
Layups by McCoy and Knight -- both on feeds from Fox -- gave
Minnesota a 23-11 lead midway through the first half.
After a pinpoint pass to McCoy for an easy bucket, Fox's assist
on the Knight basket was a behind-the-back pass during a two-on-one
that nearly hit Knight in the face.
"It's awesome playing with Emmy because running down the floor
with her I knew I was going to get the ball, I just didn't know
how," Knight said. "I like to be down low and bang around a
little bit and Emmy's just out there just making everybody else
look good and putting on a show."
Minnesota closed the half on a 12-2 run, capped by a Fox jumper
at the buzzer, for a 47-34 lead. While the Tigers (1-1) were
playing for one shot, Knight forced Tani Brown to dribble the ball
of her foot and out of bounds with 7 seconds remaining, the 18th
Tiger turnover of the half.
"We want to score from our defense," Borton said. "Scoring 85
points, a lot of that came off our defense. It was a great team
Princeton coach Richard Barron said part of his young team's
problem was giving into the Gopher pressure at times. "We had
about 20 minutes of good basketball and 20 minutes of bad. Really
good teams play the whole game."
A jumper by Jessica Berry got Princeton to within 63-54 with
7:15 to play, but a 3-pointer by Roysland and layup by Fox, after a
steal by Campbell, put Minnesota back up by 14.