Jan. 28, 2012
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team (11-10, 3-4 Big Ten) will face off with No. 9/9 Ohio State in front of a national audience Sunday afternoon on the Big Ten Network. Tip off for the Big Ten showdown at Williams Arena is set for 12:00 p.m., with the contest also serving as the Gophers' Alumni Day.
Sunday, Jan. 29
No. 9/9 Ohio State at Minnesota - 12:00 p.m. CT
Play-by-Play - Tom Hart
Analyst - Stephanie White
Play-by-Play - Corbu Stathes
Analyst - Lynnette Sjoquist
Gametracker via Gophersports.com
Minnesota - 11-11 Overall, 3-5 Big Ten
Ohio State - 20-1 Overall, 7-1 Big Ten
Williams Arena (14,625)
Minnesota trails Ohio State, 10-5
The Gophers enter Sunday's match-up with No. 9/9 Ohio State with an even 11-11 record on the season and are tied for seventh place in league standings with a 3-5 Big Ten clip after dropping four of its last five contests.
The Maroon and Gold is still outscoring its opponents by an average of 5.4 points per contest, while also holding a rebounding margin on +3.7 on the year.
The Gopher have been their best in the first half this season, outscoring its competition, 736-630, in the opening stanza.
Minnesota has two players averaging double-digit scoring in all games, led by freshman Rachel Banham's 15.5 points-per-game average. Banham also holds a team-leading 18.6 points per game in conference-only contests.
Senior Kiara Buford is a close second in scoring, averaging 13.3 points per game overall and 12.5 per contest in Big Ten action.
Buford also leads Minnesota in assists (70) and steals (45).
Katie Loberg is the team-leader in rebounds, both in and out of conference play. Overall, the junior is averaging 7.2 rebounds per game, and in the Big Ten, she is pulling down 6.6 boards per contest.
In addition, Loberg also boasts a team-best 23 blocks.
Scouting No. 9/9 Ohio State
Despite having only one loss on the season, the Buckeyes enter Sunday's contest in Minneapolis ranked second in conference standings with a 7-1 Big Ten record and a 20-1 overall mark.
Ohio State's only loss of the year came on the road at Michigan in early January.
The Buckeyes are riding a five-game win streak coming into the contest vs. the Gophers. Previous to their loss to the Wolverines, Ohio State had opened the season with a 15-game winning stretch.
Ohio State has outscored its opponents by an average of 17.5 points per game, and is also averaging an impressive .478 field goal percentage.
Tayler Hill paces the Buckeyes in scoring with a 21.4 points-per-game average, while she also has a team-leading 54 steals. Hill boasts an average of 21.8 points per contest in Big Ten action.
Ashley Adams is the team-leader in rebounding (5.9/game) and is averaging 2.5 blocks per contest.
Minnesota is 10-50 all-time when facing the Buckeyes, which includes a 7-20 record at home.
The Maroon and Gold last defeated Ohio State on Jan. 15, 2009 on the road in Columbus, thanks to three free throws in the final 17 seconds by Ashley Ellis-Milan. It was the first and only win for the Gophers at Value City Arena.
Minnesota's last home win against the Buckeyes came on Jan. 24, 2008. In the 79-70 victory, Leslie Knight scored a career high 33 points to help Minnesota defeat the then-No. 15 ranked Buckeyes.
Against Ranked Opponents
This season, Minnesota is 0-5 when facing off against ranked opponents.
In those contests, the Gophers averaged 54.6 points and 42.2 rebounds per game.
Rachel Banham has averaged 13.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game against ranked opponents, while Kiara Buford is averaging 10.0 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals per contest.
Katie Loberg paces the Maroon and Gold with 6.8 rebounds per game against Top-25 teams.
Below are the games against ranked teams this season:
Rank - Opponent - Score
14/13 - Florida State - L, 56-68
1/1 - Baylor - L, 60-89
20/21 - Purdue - L, 53-57
17/20 - Purdue - L, 55-72
20/24 - Nebraska - L, 49-64
Since Pam Borton's arrival at Minnesota, the Gophers are 18-43 vs. ranked counterparts.
The last time the Maroon and Gold defeated a ranked opponent was in a, 79-71, victory vs. No. 23/20 Notre Dame in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The last time the Gophers defeated a ranked opponent at Williams Arena was against the Buckeyes. On Jan. 24, 2008, Minnesota downed No. 15/15 Ohio State, 79-70, behind Leslie Knight's career-high 33 points.
Last Time Out
Minnesota came back from 16 points down, thanks to double-digit scoring from Rachel Banham, Katie Loberg and Kionna Kellogg, but the home squad ran out of time as its comeback fell short, 78-72, in its Big Ten Border Battle vs. Wisconsin Thursday night at Williams Arena.
The loss dropped the Gophers' record to 11-11 on the season and 3-5 in the Big Ten, while the Badgers improved to 7-13 overall and 3-5 in league play.
Banham tied for the game-high with 19 points, while adding four steals, four rebounds and three assists, and Loberg finished with 15 points, seven of which came at the free throw line, and five rebounds.
Kellogg concluded the night with the second double-double of her career. The sophomore scored 10 points, which included a perfect 8-for-8 performance at the free throw line, and grabbed 13 rebounds, while she dished out a career-best five assists.
Kiara Buford chipped in nine points, three assists and two steals, and Sari Noga added six points and three rebounds.
Wisconsin was the first team this season to shoot .500 or better against the Gophers' defense.
It was also the first time the Maroon and Gold lost a contest when shooting .400 or better and the first loss when scoring 70 or more points in a contest this year.
Senior Jackie Voigt was forced to sit out the game against the Badgers after suffering a concussion in the contest at Nebraska.
Up Next for the Gophers
Minnesota returns to the road Feb. 2 to take on Illinois at Assembly Hall. The contest is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.
The Gophers are 23-32 all-time when facing off with the Fighting Illini, which includes an 8-19 record in Champaign and 14-11 clip in Minneapolis. When facing off with each other at a neutral site, the Maroon and Gold trails Illinois, 2-1 in the series.
The last time the Gophers defeated Illinois on the road was on Jan. 3, 2009. In the 52-48 victory, Kiara Buford, then a freshman, scored eight late points, including a decisive three-pointer in the final minute, and finished the contest with a team-high 14 points.
The victory on the road was also the last time that Minnesota defeated the Illini, having dropped its last four meetings with the squad.
Ability to Bounce Back
The Gophers enter Sunday's contest looking to end their two-game skid.
Minnesota has not lost three-straight games all season and has dropped back-to-back contests only four times.
Each time, the Maroon and Gold was able to bounce back and post an impressive victory.
Minnesota posted a 25-point victory vs. Binghamton, a 35-point win vs. Air Force and a six-point victory over Michigan State.
Senior Night Is This Thursday
The Gophers' four seniors offered reflections and advice as they approach their final home game.
Freshmen Take on Bigger Role as February Captains
The youngest Golden Gophers have embraced leadership expectations during conference play.
Gophers Fall 85-69 at Michigan State
Minnesota outrebounded the Spartans but could not overcome the home team's hot shooting in Thursday night's game.