Lindsay Whalen leads Gophers to win over Virginia

Lindsay Whalen scored 31 points to lead the #6 Minnesota women's basketball team to a 73-53 victory over Virginia in the championship game of the Virginia Cavalier Classic. Whalen earned her third most valuable player award of the season. The Golden Gophers improved to 10-0 on the season and won its third regular-season tournament for the first time in school history.

Virginia (5-5) hung with the Gophers in the first half and led 21-19 with 7:31 left in the half before the Minnesota defense forced a Cavalier turnover on a five-second count to sway momentum. The Gophers took control of the game with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes. A Whalen layup off an assist from Shannon Schonrock gave Minnesota a 31-23 lead, with the Gophers hanging on for a 36-29 lead at halftime.

Whalen scored 17 of her 31 points in the first half. Junior center Janel McCarville already had her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds by the three-minute mark in the half.

The Golden Gophers' trademark defense held Virginia to just 24 second-half points on 23.5 percent shooting from the field. Minnesota scored the first eight points of the second half to mount a double-digit lead they would never relinquish.

The high-low game continued to work in the second half. McCarville was unstoppable in the paint, hitting all 10 of her field goal attempts to finish with 22 points and 13 rebounds. She joined Whalen on the all-tournament team.

"This was a big win for us and our program," said Golden Gopher head coach Pam Borton. "We were able to defeat a tough ACC team in Virginia on their home court. We are excited to begin the Big Ten season in our next game."

Minnesota opens its Big Ten campaign on Thursday, Jan. 1, when the Gophers play host to Michigan at 7 p.m. in Williams Arena.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories