MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Gophers weren't going to let it
Less than two weeks after blowing a 17-point lead in a loss to
Iowa, Minnesota turned to its post players to maintain a similar
edge and hold off Wisconsin in Sunday's 71-53 victory.
Leading 30-18 at the half, the Gophers saw Wisconsin cut the
lead to five points at 48-43 on Caitlin Gibson's basket with 8:25
"Basketball is a game of runs, it's just a matter of sustaining
those runs," said Leslie Knight, who scored a career-high 14
points on seven-of-eight shooting from the floor. She scored two
key baskets down the stretch to keep Minnesota (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten)
"You can learn valuable lessons in losses," said Gophers coach
Pam Borton. "That game (against Iowa) left a bad taste in our
mouths. We gave that game away, and they were upset and mad."
Kelly Roysland scored two of her game-high 20 points to touch
off an 11-1 run by Minnesota that pushed the lead back to 59-44
with 5 minutes left, and the Badgers (12-4, 1-2) couldn't catch up.
"They forced us into one-on-one basketball instead of a patient
offensive front," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "Defensively,
we lacked the intensity that I really thought we would bring."
Ashley Ellis-Milan, who has become the latest dominant post
player for the Gophers, scored all 15 of her points following
halftime after two early fouls forced her to play just five minutes
in the first half. She didn't shoot the ball in the first half, but
was 6-for-7 from the floor in the second half.
"I just had to find a way to keep myself in the game,"
Ellis-Milan said. "It's hard when you're sitting there for 15
Knight was dominant in the beginning, scoring eight of
Minnesota's first 12 points to put the Gophers in the lead for
good. She added two key layups late in the second half to help
Minnesota maintain the upper hand.
Jolene Anderson, who came into Sunday the third-leading scorer
in the Big Ten at 17.3 points per game, missed her first nine shots
but scored 10 of her 16 points early in the second half when the
Badgers tried to rally. Anderson was Wisconsin's only player in
"I wasn't ready to play in the first half," said Anderson. "I
took it personal, I knew I had to pick things up."
Thanks to a "Burst the Barn" promotion, 11,121 fans turned
out. It was the 21st time the Gopher women have played before more
than 10,000 at Williams Arena.
"We want this to be as common as possible," said Roysland, the
only senior on the Minnesota roster, who reached at least 20 points
for the fourth time this season. "We love the chance to play in
front of a crowd like this and that's why we came to Minnesota. We
wanted to put on a show for them."
It was the first time Ellis-Milan, a redshirt freshman, played
in front of such a large crowd at Williams Arena.
"I told my teammates, 'you guys, let's just dance," said
Ellis-Milan, who was asked by Borton to give the team's traditional
"thought of the day" before Saturday's practice. "Let's show
them we can play in the Big Ten. It's fun having that many fans
cheering for you."
After Mariah Dunham's 3-pointer put Wisconsin ahead 7-4, the
Badgers went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal. By the time
Rae Lin D'Alie ended the skid, Minnesota had built a 23-10 lead.