Will the Three Pointers Return???

Monday night versus Iowa (2-2),Minnesota (1-4) attempts to avoid losing a fourth consecutive game. The last four game losing streak occurred almost six years ago in January of 2013. It was during Pam Borton’s penultimate season that the Gophers dropped games to @Purdue 67-75, Nebraska 64-84, @Penn State 59-64 and Illinois 86-91. The 2012-13 team posted an 18-14 (7-9 B1G) record and received a WNIT invitation. They promptly lost at Williams Arena to Ball State 51-54 in a very passive, we came, we saw, we went quietly home for the summer, game.

Last season Minnesota defeated the Hawkeyes two out of three with the second victory an exciting, probably NCAA invite assuring, 90-89 win during the B1G tournament. It was a game saved in the final seconds by Kenisha Bell who saw Iowa’s Doyle dribble past Gadiva Hubbard at mid-court. Keke turned on hyper-speed, ran down Doyle, directed her into Destiny Pitts on the right side of the court forcing Doyle to U turn and run out the clock. Iowa’s final play was obviously set up for Doyle to dribble to the hoop either scoring on a layup or dropping the ball to Megan Gustafson who was lurking on the left block. Doyle never got the chance to make that decision.Both Gustafson and Doyle return for the Hawkeyes.

Minnesota won last season’s first Iowa game at Williams 77-72 before losing at Iowa City 84-92. There is little new to say about Iowa’s center piece, Megan Gustafson. In the three games against Minnesota last season Gustafson averaged 33.7 minutes, 31 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.3 fouls. Gustafson put up 48 points in the B1G tourney loss.

This season, both the Hawkeyes and Gophers scored easy, nearly identical, 18 point home victories over the Badgers and suffered similarly disappointing road losses to the Spartans (Minnesota lost by 18 and Iowa by 14). Against Iowa, Wisconsin’s Imani Lewis dropped in 22 points while against the Gophers she was pretty much a non-factor with 6 points. Against Michigan State, the Gophers dug themselves a 14 point hole in the first two quarters while Iowa’s problems came in the second half where they were outscored by 20 in the second half by the Spartans.

Perhaps Monday’s game will be decided by three pointers. Or, more precisely, decided by which team can shake it’s three pointer slump. Lisa Bluder’s Iowa, generally a three point loving team, are currently 13th in B1G three point shooting percentage 17-65 (.262). This would normally be good news for the Gophers; but Minnesota is dead last 10-47 (.213).

So maybe it will be decided by inside scoring. Here are the B1G scoring leaders through Thursday’s games.

1. Gustafson 24.5
7. Bell 15.8
13 Lamke 13.8

T18 Stewart 12.5
25 Brunson 11.0
T29 Doyle 10.8
T29 T. Bello 10.8


In Rebounding it’s two versus one:

Gustafson 14.0
T. Bello 9.3
Bell 8.3

Other numbers: On offense Iowa is scoring 68.8 points per B1G game and the Gophers 66.0)
On defense Iowa is allowing 67.5 points per game and Minnesota 71.0

Notable non-conference games: An 84-81 win versus West Virginia in Bimini and a 71-105 loss at Notre Dame.

B1G Wins: Nebraska 77-72, Wisconsin 71-53

B1G Losses: @Michigan State 70-84, @Purdue 57-63


Starters:

6’3” F Sr Megan Gustafson (30 points, 14 rebounds v. Michigan State)
5’3” G Sr Tania Davis (5 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists v. Purdue)
6’2” F Sr Hannah Stewart (17 points, 6 rebounds v Purdue)
5’9” G Jr Kathleen Doyle (15 points, 7 assists v Wisconsin)
5’9” G Jr Makenzie Meyer (10 points, 5 assists v Wisconsin)


Other:

5’5” G So. Alexis Sevillian (9 points, 4 rebounds v Michigan State)