Women’s basketball: Gophers rally but fall to Wake Forest in final seconds
Mara Braun, who had a career-high 34 points and a buzzer-beater in a 101-99 victory over Lehigh, scored a game-high 27 points.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mara Braun already has put the Gophers on her back for a victory this season, and the freshman point tried hard to do it again on Wednesday. But a night of mistakes was too much to overcome for Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Braun, who had a career-high 34 points and a buzzer-beater in a 101-99 victory over Lehigh on Nov. 13, scored a game-high 27 points but Minnesota fell to Wake Forest, 63-59, at Williams Arena.
With the game tied 59-59, Jewel Spear shook Braun at the top of the key and swished a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to lift the Demon Deacons. The Gophers had a chance to tie late but Braun was called for a push off on the inbounds and Alexandria Scruggs made a free throw before intentionally missing the second with 1 seconds left.
Spear finished with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Elise Williams added 16 points, four assists and two steals for Wake Forest (5-3).
The Gophers (4-3) tied the game 59-59 on Rose Micheaux’s basket off an offensive rebound with 16 seconds left. Fouled on the play, she missed the potential go-ahead free throw — one of many unforced errors that doomed the Gophers on Wednesday.
Most conspicuously, Minnesota was 6 of 12 from the stripe and committed 19 turnovers, including a large handful of lazy inbounds passes that were easily intercepted by the Deacons, and missed several layups.
Katie Borowicz had a game-high six assists, including a transition pass to Rose Micheaux on a layup that pulled the Gophers within 59-57 with 1:22 left. But she also was charged with six turnovers.
Micheaux finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, another double-double for the sophomore, but was 1 for 5 from the line.
The Gophers overcame a slow start to take a 27-23 halftime lead.
Minnesota made only 2 of 11 shots from the field, and turned the ball over seven times, in the first quarter and trailed, 10-5. But the Gophers started taking better shots in the second quarter, finishing the half on an 11-2 run capped by consecutive pullup jumpers by Maggie Czinano.
Braun scored her first nine points in the second quarter, hitting two 3-pointers, the first giving Minnesota its first lead, 23-21, with 2:09 left in the half.
The Gophers begin Big Ten play on Saturday against Penn State at Williams Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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