Linday Whalen Scores 32 to Lead No. 6/6 Golden Gophers to Big Ten Win
All-America guard L indsay Whalen scored 32 points, half of her team's points, to lead the No. 6/6 Minnesota women's basketball team to a 64-44 victory over Michigan in the Big Ten opener for both teams. The Golden Gophers improved to 11-0 (1-0 Big Ten) on the season, one win from tying last year's school-record 12-0 start. Michigan falls to 7-7 overall (0-1 Big Ten).
Minnesota held a 36-20 lead at halftime. Whalen scored 21 points in the first half, more than Michigan's 20 points as a team. She hit a personal-best 5-of-5 from three-point range and 8-of-9 from the floor overall.
After a layup by Michigan 's Jennifer Smith made the score 15-12 Minnesota, the Wolverines went over six minutes without scoring while the Golden Gophers went on a 9-0 run to take control. Minnesota built as big a lead 16 points when Whalen ended the half on a layup.
The second half was not a pretty one for either team with defense winning out over offensive production. Despite maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the half, Minnesota shot just 38.1 percent (8-21). Michigan made just seven field goals and shot a lowly 28.0 percent.
The 32-point outing was the second consecutive 30-plus scoring game for Whalen and the 11th of her career. The senior guard now needs just 20 points to hit the 2,000 career point plateau.
The Wolverines sagged three players around Gophers' center J anel McCarville throughout the game, yet 6-2 center found different ways to make an impact. The Big Ten leader in double-doubles tallied season-lows with six points and six rebounds but set a career high with five blocks and tied another with six assists. She also added four steals.
The 44 points scored allowed by the Minnesota defense tied the fourth lowest scoring output by a Gopher opponent in Big Ten history and the lowest since Indiana scored 44 points on Feb. 20, 1987.
The crowd of 10,917 was the fifth largest in Minnesota history.
Minnesota concludes a streak of four games in seven days on Saturday when the Golden Gopher play host to South Carolina in a 3 p.m. game televised on CBS.
Post-Game Quotes Minnesota 64, Michigan 44 Williams Arena January 1, 2004 Michigan Head Coach Cheryl Burnett "We just lost by 20 points to a great team, but I am proud of the way we played. We played hard, had a game plan and accomplished a lot of what we came here to do. We did not guard L indsay Whalen as well as we had planned, but throughout the game we made progress as a team by staying focused and together. We pride ourselves on not giving up a lot of offensive rebounds by only giving up two to Minnesota. We just need to continue to battle." On missing Tabitha Pool "Tabitha has been playing very well. She is agile and a great 3-point shooter, one of our biggest shooting threats. I felt that Niki Reams stepped up and was a aggressive offensively." On guarding Minnesota's L indsay Whalen "Our team left L indsay Whalen open too much early on. We did not guard her in the right way, but she also does a great job reading her screens which allows her to take some open shots." Michigan Center Jennifer Smith "I do not mind the aggressive play on the inside because it gives my teammates a chance to make shots. J anel McCarville is awesome to guard and I love the challenge that she brings to the game. She is strong and I like that kind of player. I can't wait for the next match-up." Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton "I am very pleased with the effort of the team tonight, especially on defense. The Big Ten is a lot different than other opponents. They know our strengths and weaknesses and how to play us. I think tonight was a typical Big Ten match-up." "This was a much improved Michigan team. They are tough and have a great work ethic. They will be a great team by the end of the season. Give them credit - they didn't back down." "Defensively, we've been playing well for a long time. We wanted to make them take tough shots. Jennifer Smith had some looks. But we wore them down at that end." Minnesota Guard L indsay Whalen On her 5-for-7 three point shooting "There were two or three people in on Janel, which gave me some open looks. I was a little surprised that I was able to get looks like that. The basket didn't look any different. I got into a rhythm with my shots and they went in. The team found me and I got a flow going. The ball came off my hands really good." Minnesota Center J anel McCarville On the Big Ten opener "We were pumped up, anxious about the game. It was on TV and had over 10,000 people watching. Those were all reasons to be pumped up." "Six assists equal 12 points. As long as we pull out the win it doesn't matter [about my point or rebound totals]. The team had great chemistry tonight and Whalen had a great first half. My numbers don't matter as long as the team gets the