Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purdue's defense leaves Minnesota "boiling"


Following Sunday's loss to Ohio State, Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said her team figured out the ingredients to win games.

After Thursday night's 60-50 loss to Purdue at Williams Arena, the Minnesota coaching staff and fan base will be looking to make a few adjustments to their recipe.

Purdue (18-9, 8-6) was fueled by junior Brittany Rayburn's 27 points, with 17 coming in the second half. Rayburn kept pace with her outstanding free throw shooting, making 12 of 14. The Boilermakers finished the game with an 11-2 run and scored the game's final eight points.

While Purdue made just 35 percent of their field goals, their defensive presence was more than enough. Purdue blocked 10 Minnesota (11-15, 3-10) shots, limiting their opponent to 28 percent from the floor. To boot, the Gophers did not make a field goal in the final 8:35.

"They were bodying us up, and I think that bothered us," Borton said.

"It felt like they were crashing five at a time," said junior guard Jackie Voigt. "We miss one rebound and it was a scramble."

Junior forward Brianna Mastey tied her career high in the first half with 13 points, her first game in double-figures since January 2nd. Mastey set her new career best with 10:28 in the second half on a right-side runner and finished with 17 points.

Mastey's performance may be overshadowed by the continuing struggles of junior guard Kiara Buford. She scored eight points with half of them coming from the free throw line. On the floor, Buford made only two of 16 shots.

"Kiara's a great player when she's aggressive," Borton said. "She was a little timid tonight, especially defensively."

While a timid nature can not explain Buford's or the team's struggles as a whole throughout the last two seasons, Borton noted how opponents have defeated the Gophers recently by attacking the lane late in games while the Gophers often respond with contested jump shots.

"We didn't finish a lot of things tonight," she said.

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