Minnesota’s women basketball team was back at it in Williams Arena on Monday to play against the Ohio State Buckeyes following a loss to the Purdue Boilermakers last week. Ohio State came to town with a 7-10 record, along with a 9th place ranking in the Big Ten Conference.
Before Monday’s contest, Minnesota had lost 57 of the 73 games it has played against OSU, including the previous four matchups. The streak was tied for their longest active losing streak and the 57 losses were their most against team all time.
That losing streak continued as the Gophers fell flat in the second half and shot just 30 percent from the floor. Minnesota lost to the Buckeyes 65-55 .
“The shots didn’t fall, but defensively at some point we kind of got totally out of sorts and we gave up 22 in the fourth, [before that] it was a two-point game,” said head coach Lindsay Whalen. “We struggled to score, but when you’re not scoring that’s when you have to stay that much more committed to the defensive end, the game plan, and all of those things.”
Both teams seemed to spend the first quarter warming up and becoming more accustomed to each other’s game plan. After ten minutes the score was 16-10 in favor of the Gophers.
An 8-6 run at the start of the second quarter helped Ohio State close some of that gap, and over the last five minutes of the first half Ohio State continued to control the pace of the game. Minnesota’s lead shrank to just three points by half time.
Then, just past the seven minute mark of the third quarter, the Buckeyes evened the score at 34 points apiece.
The teams were going back and forth, trading shots for some time, but the combination of Taiye Bello’s rebounding and Kenisha Bell’s determination pushed Minnesota to a 43-41 lead with 1:27 left in the third quarter.
After three quarters Bell had 10 points while Bello had already grabbed 17 rebounds, just two short of her career high.
“I knew that it would be a big part of the game, and especially when we’re not able to score as much on offense as we were struggling today with that … all possessions matter,” Bello said.
Unfortunately for Minnesota’s dynamic duo, single-digit temperatures in Minneapolis did not stop Ohio State from finding a way to scorch the Gophers inside The Barn with a 16-0 run to open the final period of play.
Minnesota now has a couple of days to get ready before a road matchup against the Northwestern Wildcats (13-7) in Evanston on Thursday.
“[Ohio State] made a big run to end the second and fourth, so we’ve obviously got to finish halves and finish games with a little more attention to detail if we want to come out on top,” Whalen said.