The Gophers bid an emotional farewell to their seniors after finishing the final home game of the season with a defeat.
Minnesota's senior night, which honored Carlie Wagner, Bryanna Fernstrom and Jessie Edwards, ended with an 82-70 loss against Indiana (16-12, 9-6 Big Ten) Tuesday. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for team. Head coach Marlene Stollings mentioned a lack of defense after the game.
“It was disappointing tonight," Stollings said. "We hung our head a little bit and they ran the ball right back down our throat. ... It was a tough one, it stings.”
Each of the four quarters were back and forth, with 13 lead changes throughout the matchup. Wagner continued to lead in points and the Gophers (21-7, 10-5 Big Ten) took their first lead of the second half at 48-46. Wagner finished the final home game of her career with a season-high 34 points.
The majority of the fourth quarter was a one-possession game, with the Gophers trailing 62-61 with five minutes remaining. Minnesota struggled to find the net as the clock ticked down, shooting 13 percent from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers capitalized on Minnesota’s inability to score and expanded their lead by five with three minutes remaining.
“We didn’t convert off of our steals, and that kind of brought us down a little bit when we should have been stepping it up and picking up our intensity,” guard Kenisha Bell said.
A victory seemed less than likely for Minnesota as the final quarter progressed. Indiana continued to expand the gap, making almost 55 percent of its total field goals in the second half compared to Minnesota’s 28 percent. The Gophers did not maintain the momentum they had during the first half, which cost them.
In contrast to the second half, Minnesota found the basket at the beginning of the first quarter, taking an early 7-0 lead over the Hoosiers. That would be the team's largest lead all game. As the quarter continued, the Hoosiers proved to be a challenge for the Gophers. The competitive quarter ended with a score of 19-19 with Bell and Wagner leading in points.
The second quarter was even more of a difficult task as they struggled both defensively and offensively. Minnesota was unable to net any 3-point shots during the first half, shooing 0-7 from three and 42 percent from the field. They also struggled defensively the first half which resulted in the Hoosiers scoring 42 points.
Minnesota will start postseason play with the Big Ten tournament on Feb. 28 after one more game at Illinois on Feb. 25. Though Tuesday night’s game ended in a bitter loss for the Gophers and final game of the season in the Barn, Wagner said she is thankful for all the opportunities she has had at Minnesota.
“It’s been an amazing ride and it’s not over, it’s far from over.”