The No. 23 Minnesota women’s basketball team improved to 4-0 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Williams Arena on Tuesday. The Gophers proved too much for the Golden Lions to handle, as the game was clearly out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s reach almost immediately after tipoff.
“We were working hard from the start, we didn’t come out slow, we were talking,” said senior Kenisha Bell. “We were just ready this game, coming out last game pretty slow we knew we didn’t want to do that again.”
After ending the first quarter of play ahead by a score of 22 to 9, Minnesota never looked back. They went on to score twice as many points as Arkansas-Pine Bluff, beating them by a final score of 84-42. This was the most points the Gophers have scored all season, and the fewest points they had allowed.
“I think tonight we did what we set out to do, all day our team was just prepared and really focused from shootaround on,” said head coach Lindsay Whalen. “We had a really good understanding of what the game plan was, and I felt like we executed.”
Kenisha Bell had a nice shooting night on her way to 24 points. Junior Jasmine Brunson had 12 points and sophomore Destiny Pitts had 11 points while freshman Mercedes Staples added 13 points coming off of the bench. After the game, Kenisha Bell spoke on how the team maintained their energy even after their lead had become a large margin.
“We just kind of take it one step at a time,” Bell said. “If we make a mistake, we just work on getting it back on defense.”
While it was a blowout win for Minnesota, the team did not play as efficiently in the second half, and turnovers started to add up. Minnesota had 23 turnovers in the game, from which Arkansas-Pine Bluff was able to score 18 points.
“We’re all in this together ... we all either win or we lose, so we all want to do this together,” Whalen said. “No one is trying to turn it over, sometimes it just happens, but we’ll keep cleaning that up.”
Whalen hopes to work on this area of her team’s game before the Gophers take on Cornell in their next game at Williams Arena on Friday.
“These guys are playing so hard and it’s something that I hope our fans are enjoying about this team,” Whalen said. “How hard we are playing, how hard we’re competing on every possession — these guys are giving everything they have. I hope the fans that were here tonight, and that will continue to come out and support us, are seeing the effort that they’re giving every night.”