Minneapolis, Minn. Air Force closed the game on a 7-0 run but came up short of a comeback, falling to No. 20 Minnesota, 50-67, in Minneapolis, Sunday afternoon. The Falcons equal out at 4-4 on the season while the Gophers remain undefeated at 7-0.
Air Force was led by Kaelin Immel who scored 16 points and collected eight rebounds. She shot 50-percent from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line. Freshman teammate Briana Autrey finished the game with 13 points and the Falcons' highest field goal percentage (.429) on the game.
Haley Jones, who logged the most minutes on the court (31), wrangled in eight boards and four steals. Senior team captain Venessannah Itugbu also recorded four steals while shooting 1-1.
Air Force shot 29.5-percent from the field while Minnesota shot 39-percent. Kenisha Bell, who leads Minnesota in scoring, dropped 27 points and recorded six steals. Air Force outshot Minnesota from down range, hitting 4-17 opposed to Minnesota's, 1-10.
Both teams struggled with turnovers as Air Force had 20 to Minnesota's 18. Rebounding appeared to be the deciding factor. The Gophers out-rebounded the Falcons, 54-38, scoring 40 points from within the paint. Taiye Bello was the x-factor for Minnesota, recording 18 rebounds, many of which yielded fast-break and second-chance points to her teammates as a result. Bello finished with four points, two steals and a block.
The Falcons showed that they could compete with explosive teams, but will have to improve on turnovers and second-chance scoring opportunities.
The Falcons return home to the Academy to take on service academy rivals, Navy, Dec. 7. Tip off in Clune Arena is slated for 4:30 p.m. MT. The Falcons and Mids will be meeting for the 15th time with Navy leading the all-time series, 11-3.