The University of Minnesota women’s basketball team (14-8, 4-7 B1G) returns home to take on No. 5/5 Ohio State (19-3, 10-1 B1G) at Williams Arena on Thursday, February 8.
Tip Time: 8:00 p.m. CT.
Promotion: National Girls & Women in Sports Day – Come out and celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Williams Arena with Gopher Women’s Basketball.
Student Promotion: The first 150 students will receive a FREE Gopher Women’s Basketball gold t-shirt.
ABOUT THE OHIO STATE GAME
• Minnesota and Ohio State are meeting for the 82nd time, with the Buckeyes holding a 65-15 advantage in the series that started back in 1976. Minnesota holds a record of 11-24 against Ohio State at Williams Arena.
• Ohio State has won the last 12 games overall against the Golden Gophers, with the last win for Minnesota being on Feb. 24, 2016, which was also at Williams Arena against No. 5 Ohio State (90-88).
• The Buckeyes have won nine straight after dropping the team’s only Big Ten game to rival Michigan in Ann Arbor. Ohio State’s other two losses this year came against future Big Ten opponents UCLA and Southern Cal, who are currently both top 10 teams in the country.
• Individually this season the Buckeyes are led offensively by Jacy Sheldon at 17.9 points per game with a field goal percentage of 50.5 from the floor this year. Sheldon’s defensive numbers are also notable with the guard averaging a Big Ten leading 2.3 steals per game.
• As of Feb. 5, Ohio State is the No. 2 ranked team in the NCAA in turnover margin at 7.6, which is the top mark in the Big Ten this season. The Buckeyes are also one of the most effective teams at getting to the free throw line with an average of 16 attempts per game and attempt 22.1 per game. Ohio State’s offensive attack averages 81.1 points per game, which is 17th in the NCAA and fourth in the Big Ten this year.
• Minnesota dropped its fourth straight game, the latest by the hands of the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. Minnesota out shot Michigan State from the floor but could not overcome 18 turnovers that led to 19 Spartan points. In the second half Minnesota shot 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the floor with Janay Sanders scoring 14 of her season-high 23 points in the final 20 minutes of action. Mallory Heyer also came alive in the second half, scoring 12 of her 14 in the final 20 minutes and finished with her fourth double double of the season (14 points, 11 rebounds).
• Amaya Battle became the ninth Gopher in program history to register three different games with 10 or more assists when she dished out 10 dimes in the loss to Michigan State. Battle has registered two of those three performances this season and is now 58 assists shy of breaking into the program’s top 10 career list in just 52 games played.
• University of Minnesota head women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit announced on Jan. 29, that sophomore guard Mara Braun suffered a foot injury against Illinois that will require surgery and will be out indefinitely. This season Braun has been one of the Big Ten’s top scorers at 17.8 points per game, which is fourth in the conference, while shooting a career high 37 percent from three.
• Without Mara Braun in the lineup Janay Sanders has slid into the starting lineup for the Gophers the past two games and has posted back-to-back season highs. Since joining the starting lineup Sanders has shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the floor. Sanders has been the most effective when driving to the basket with the graduate from Charlotte, N.C., leading the team in fouls drawn at 3.9 per game this season.
• Last season the Gophers were ranked 291st in the NCAA and 13th in the Big Ten in turnovers per game (17.7) per game but through 22 games this season are ranked 27th in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten at 13.1.
• After ending her first season as the No. 1 rebounding freshman in the Big Ten (7.1 per game), Mallory Heyer has improved on the glass in her sophomore season at 8.3 per game, which is No. 4 overall in the Big Ten this season while her 8.5 rebounds per game in Big Ten play also sits at the No. 4 spot.
HART TO HART
Gopher junior center Sophie Hart of Farmington sat down with Minnesota News Network sports director Mike Grimm:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)