BY MIKE PEDEN
The Minnesota Gopher women's basketball team hosted the first game of the newly-minted Super Six series Wednesday night at Williams Arena against Pittsburgh.
The series, designed to create more marquis matches among the six power conferences in collegiate sports, could be a quick favorite for Gopher senior guard China Antoine. She nailed six three-pointers, giving the Gophers enough of a spark to beat Pittsburgh 73-63.
The Gophers (2-1, 0-0) trailed for nearly the entire first half as they struggled to find their shot, despite not going down by more than six points the entire game. Trailing 34-30 with just over two minutes remaining in the half, Minnesota ended with an 11-0 run and took the lead for good on Antoine's second triple. She finished the game with a career-high 18 points and five assists.
"When I hit the shot, I think we had momentum," Antoine said.
Pittsburgh (1-1, 0-0) made one last push to tie the game at 41 early in the second half, but Minnesota answered with a 9-0 run. Coupled with a stingy Minnesota zone defense that allowed just four Pittsburgh three-pointers in 20 attempts, the Gophers made sure no nails were bitten compared to Sunday's close loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay.
"It's a great sign of a very tight team," said Gophers head coach Pam Borton.
Cohesion, an early-season goal for Borton, started to show in Minnesota's third game of the season. The Gophers tallied 20 assists as a team to Pittsburgh's nine while they trimmed their turnovers from 27 in Sunday's game to 18.
"Minnesota took our posts out of the game," said Pittsburgh coach Agnus Berenato. "They walked us off the line, they walked us off the block. (Minnesota) has tremendous size."
What may have gone unnoticed to the 2,572 fans in attendance were solid showings from center Kristen Dockery and forward Brianna Mastey.
Dockery, filling in for an injured Katie Loberg, scored a career-high eight points and tied a career high in rebounds with nine in 30 minutes of play, also a career high.
"My team needed me to step up today. I just had to be ready to go," she said.
Mastey, who struggled to find offensive production in her first two seasons, notched a career-high 10 points while adding seven rebounds.
"Brianna continues to grow; she got off to a slow start tonight, I said something when she came out and she went in with a vengeance," Borton said.
Pittsburgh senior Brittaney Thomas scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Loberg, who injured her left knee Sunday, had an MRI revealing no serious damage. She is listed as day-to-day, although Borton hopes Loberg can return in time for the Subway Classic that starts Saturday.
Programs available for DVD purchase
Autism: The Wall That Knows No Limits - Award-winning documentary series providing insights on autism rarely seen in contemporary media. Produced by someone on the spectrum, this series is a wealth of information for anyone seeking to learn about autism.
$15 for one episode, $50 for the complete series (4 episodes)
What Are You? A Dialogue on Mixed Race - Originally a school assignment, this one-hour documentary explores a population that existed for many years but didn't get much focus until recently. This program examines how a small but growing segment of the population could shift racial and cultural identity. Screened at the 2009 Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and will be screened at the inaugural Critical Mixed Race Studies conference at DePaul University. $15
From Vices to Verses: Featuring Voices Merging - From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop and Action is a biannual conference held at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to promote the culture and history of hip-hop, which is often lost in the corporate mainstream representation. In this program, you'll see how the Voices Merging student group absorbed what they witnessed and how their experience will transform them as a group and as individuals. DVD copies come with 14 minutes of bonus footage not seen online or on TV. $15
Minnesota Machine: 2010 - Geared for Greatness - Join the professional women's football team in their historic 2nd season. Despite several injuries that depleted the roster, the Machine finished 2010 with a 6-3 record and their first division title in franchise history, edging the Iowa Thunder in the Midwest Division of the American Conference. This highlight reel includes clips from the 2010 season and their interview on the cable television show Rollin' and Tumblin' - $15
Silhouettes by RZI Couture - The inaugural breast cancer benefit fashion premiere took place in St. Paul and was met with a fabulous response. All the models were breast cancer survivors or relatives of someone affected by breast cancer and all the clothing was designed by Rosalyn Smaller, owner of RZI Couture and currently fighting breast cancer herself. The TV version features testimonials from the models and co-host Miss Georgia of KMOJ. $10 of every purchase will be donated to RZI Couture to help the breast cancer fight! $15