Minnesota eased to a 83-57 win over Washington State at Williams Arena.
A week after ending the first half poorly, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team made sure that did not happen again.
The 14th-ranked Gophers (6-1) crushed Washington State 83-57 on Saturday night at Williams Arena in a game that was never close.
On Dec. 3, Minnesota had a significant lead over Nebraska, but let the Huskers back in the game over the last minutes of the first half.
“We knew that we needed to sustain what we did in the beginning the whole 20 minutes,” senior guard Shannon Schonrock said. “Last week when we played, I think we had 17 great minutes and then we kind of fizzled.”
Junior forward Jamie Broback — in her first start of the season — scored eight points in the first seven minutes to help lead Minnesota to a quick 22-10 lead.
But Broback was forced to the bench with 13 minutes to go in the first half after picking up her second foul.
“Jamie’s one of our best passers on the team,” coach Pam Borton said. “And that’s a big reason why we need her on the floor. Before she got in foul trouble … she was scoring, but she was getting other people easy shots.”
However, the Gophers’ play did not drop without Broback, and they led 43-21 at halftime.
“People stepped up when they needed to and that was good to see,” Broback said. “I had some fresh legs coming into the second half, but obviously no one likes to be in foul trouble.”
In the second half, Minnesota never led by less than 20 points, and that lead stretched to as many as 32.
Maybe more important than the margin of victory was the Gophers’ improved rebounding.
The Cougars (6-2) came into the game averaging better than 48 rebounds per game — an area where Minnesota has struggled.
Although the Gophers have been beaten badly on the glass at times, they stuck with Washington State and outrebounded them 32-31.
However, Borton indicated that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“I’m happier than I was the other day,” she said. “I think that’s still a big area that we need to improve on. … But I was pleased that we outrebounded Washington State today.”
Katie Appleton and Kate Benz led Washington State in scoring, with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Broback finished with 16 points and six assists, and Schonrock had 15 points with three three-point baskets.
But senior guard April Calhoun was perhaps the player of the game for Minnesota. She filled the box score with a career-high eight assists, three steals, four rebounds and 13 points — eight of which came from going perfect from the free-throw line.
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