Gophers-Penn State preview: First game without Braun on the floor


vs. Penn State, Williams Arena, 7 p.m, Wednesday

Streaming: B1G+

Radio: 96.7-FM

Opening bell: This will be the Gophers' first game without Mara Braun, who hurt her right foot in Sunday's loss at Illinois. When Braun hit a three-pointer in the fourth quarter's first minute, the Gophers led by seven. Without her they were outscored 23-11 the rest of the way. Minnesota (14-6 overall, 4-5 Big Ten) has lost two straight, both on the road. Now the Gophers get to host one of the Big Ten's hottest teams and biggest surprises. Penn State (15-5, 6-3) has won five straight. Sunday it scored 112 points, the most points ever scored against a Maryland team, in yet another win.

Watch her: Gophers G Amaya Battle has scored in double figures in five of six games and is coming off an 18-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist game at Illinois. F Mallory Heyer has had at least five rebounds in every game and 10 or more in six. Freshman Grace Grocholski had a three-game stretch of scoring in double figures broken in Illinois. The fast-paced Nittany Lions have five players averaging in double figures. The leader is Ashley Owusu who, finally healthy, is averaging 18.6 points and 5.8 rebounds. Mackenna Marisa (15.5) is one of the best players in PSU history.

Forecast: Given the adversity the Gophers have to fight through, and coming off two difficult losses to lower-division Big Ten teams, a victory here would be significant, but perhaps surprising.

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