Whalen again sparks Gopher women

Lindsay Whalen was at it again, posting her season-high scoring total as the Gophers opened the Big Ten schedule with a 64-44 victory over Michigan Thursday night at Williams Arena.

Whalen posted 32 points on the night, and outscored Michigan by herself in the first half, pouring in 21 points as the No. 6 Gophers took a 36-20 lead at the break. She canned all five of her 3-point attempts and was 8-for-9 from the floor overall as Minnesota (11-0, 1-0 Big Ten) shot 59.1 percent in the first half.

The Gophers' scoring attack wasn't exactly balanced, as Whalen was the only player who scored more than seven points, but Janel McCarville filled the stat sheet in almost every column. The junior center only scored six points on 1-of-6 shooting, but she led the team with six rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots and four steals.

"Six assists equal 12 points. As long as we pull out the win it doesn't matter [about my point or rebound totals]," McCarville said. "The team had great chemistry tonight and Whalen had a great first half. My numbers don't matter as long as the team gets the win."

Minnesota's defense was almost as impressive as Whalen's offense. Despite being outrebounded 34-33, the Gophers held Michigan (7-7, 0-1) to just 27.5 percent from the field and a season-low 44 points -- the lowest output by a Gophers' conference foe since 1987.

"I am very pleased with the effort of the team tonight, especially on defense," said Minnesota coach Pam Borton. "The Big Ten is a lot different than other opponents. They know our strengths and weaknesses and how to play us. I think tonight was a typical Big Ten matchup."

The game was played in front of 10,917 fans at Williams Arena, the fifth-largest crowd in school history.

The Gophers, who have won a school-record 16 straight home games, can tie their best start ever with a win at home Saturday against South Carolina (8-3). The Gamecocks have lost two straight after an eight-game winning streak. The game will tip off at 3 p.m. and will be nationally televised on CBS.

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