Minnesota’s women’s basketball team led for most of the game against No. 4/5 Ohio State, but a late Buckeyes surge resulted in a 70-67 Gophers loss on Thursday at Williams Arena.
Redshirt freshman Ashley Ellis-Milan led the Gophers with 17 points on the night. Sophomore Emily Fox scored in double figures for the seventh straight game with 15 points, and also dished out a game-high seven assists.
Ohio State senior Jessica Davenport blocked 11 shots in the game to set the all-time Big Ten record with 372 career blocks. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year was her usual dominant self, recording a triple-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with her 11 blocks.
Minnesota (13-12, 5-7 Big Ten) led the entire second half, building as much as a 10 point lead against the Buckeyes. The Gophers went on a 10-0 run where every starter scored to take a 49-39 lead with 13:16 left in the game.
The Buckeyes (22-1, 11-0) chipped away at the Minnesota lead, eventually tying the score at 61-61 with 4:05 to play on a three-point play by Stephanie Blanton.
Freshman Korinne Campbell answered for the Gophers by scoring underneath on an offensive putback to push Minnesota ahead by two points.
On the next possession, Marscilla Packer, who led the Buckeyes with 18 points, swished her fourth three-pointer of the game to give Ohio State a 64-63 lead. It was the Buckeyes’ first lead since the score was 20-18 midway through the first half.
Ohio State extended its lead to three points when Blanton scored a transition lay-up to make the score 66-63 with 1:45 left in the game.
Ellis-Milan scored underneath for the Gophers on the next possession to cut the lead to one, but Packer responded by hitting an open jumper to push the Ohio State lead back to three points.
Fox scored on a running jumper of her own with 40 seconds to play to make the score 68-67 in favor of the Buckeyes.
Ohio State then worked the clock , eventually finding Star Allen for a 12-foot jumper along the left baseline for the deciding bucket. Fox missed a desperation three-pointer as time expired.
Minnesota led at halftime 33-31. The Gophers held Davenport to just five points in the half.
Ohio State lost senior All-Big Ten guard Brandie Hoskins to an ankle injury late in the first half.
The Buckeyes shot 63.2 percent in the game, led by Packer shooting 7-of-8 from the field. Ohio State leads the nation in field goal percentage, but committed a season-high 25 turnovers against the Gophers.
Performance at the free throw line may have been the deciding factor in the game. The Buckeyes shot 16-for-20 from the free throw line in the game, including going a perfect 14-for-14 from the charity stripe in the second half. In contrast, the Gophers shot 8-for-16 from the free throw line.
Leslie Knight scored 10 points to be the third Gophers player in double figures. Junior guard Jordan Barnes had an effective game as well, with career-highs eight points and four assists.
The Gophers will play home again on Sunday, hosting Indiana at 12 p.m. at Williams Arena.