Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Antoine's six treys nets Super Six win


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.

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