- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
Gophers freshman Ayianna Johnson scored 19 points in Sunday's victory. She hails from Jefferson, Wis., and didn't begin playing competitive basketball until high school.
Because the game is new to her, it's a work in progress. Right now she likes to focus on one thing — Sunday it was rim-running — but she'll need to learn to multi-task. She needs to get better getting rebounding position after a high school career where her athletic ability meant she didn't have to. She will need to diversify her offensive game. She'll get another chance Wednesday, when the Gophers host North Dakota State.
But she's eager and able to learn. Sunday, for example, she had two of her shots blocked by Chicago State center Josie Hill. But Johnson is already strong enough for the physical Big Ten. Plitzuweit and her staff kept telling her that in those situations, with the defender up tight, one answer is to face up to the basket.
"And then Maggie [Czinano] faced up against the post kid, got to the rim and scored,'' Plitzuweit said. "I looked at the bench at A.J., and she's like, 'Yes, I understand. That's what I should have done.'''