Gopher women rout Chicago State 100-42

One rout of a mediocre mid-major (that is, the Gopher women’s 92-57 win over Long Island last week) doesn’t prove anything. But a second rout of a mediocre mid-major–well, at least that’s a trend. And the Gophers established a trend with a 100-42 blowout of an overmatched Chicago State team. For the 2nd straight time, Mara Braun led the Gophers with 25 points and in so doing became the 3rd fastest Gopher women to 500 career points. This time she added 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. She shote 56% from the field including 37% on 3-pointers. That’s also a trend after she shot 60 and 45% against LIU. It was also announced recently that she is one of 20 women on the Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year watch list.

For the 2nd straight game, coach Dawn Plitzuweit started center Sophie Hart, forwards Mallory Heyer andGrace Grocholski, and guards Braun and Amaya Battle. (Gopher fans know that Braun is not a small forward, but never mind that right now.) Heyer inexplicably scored just 3 points on 1-for-2 shooting, while Grocholski and Braun combined for 22 points, 8 boards and 9 assists.

The big news was the breakout of 6-3 true freshman Aiyanna Johnson with 19 points, 4 boards and 3 steals on 9-of-13 shooting. Also, Janay Sanders, the graduate guard transfer from Appalachian State, had a 2nd solid outing with 12 points and 3 assists. Redshirt freshman Niamya Holloway added 4 points, 5 boards and 5 steals off the bench. 12 players played, 10 of them scored, and at least 9 looked like they can be reliable performers for Coach P. Just about the only thing one might worry about was the 3-point shooting at 26%, down from 39% the other night. The FT shooting improved from 62% against LIU to 79% on Sunday. Still, it seems that shooting of odd-numbered shots (1s and 3s) might both be worries right at the moment. Everything else looks pretty good right now, but of course that’s against a couple of weak mid-majors. North Dakota State will provide a better barometer this week, followed by the 1st really big test of the year, that is Connecticut and local hero Paige Bueckers at Williams Arena next Sunday.

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