Gophers star Mara Braun to have foot surgery, out indefinitely

Gophers guard Mara Braun had 18 points before leaving the fourth quarter at Illinois with a foot injury in Sunday's 73-68 loss. (University of Minnesota Athletics)

The University of Minnesota women’s basketball team lost 73-68 at Illinois on Sunday, and lost star guard Mara Braun to an injury for the foreseeable future.

Braun went down early in the fourth quarter, suffering a right foot injury while landing on an Illinois’ player’s foot after a made 3-pointer. The Gophers had a 57-50 lead at the time.

Minnesota lost the fourth quarter 23-14, and the game. Gophers’ coach Dawn Plitzuweit said after the loss that a foul should’ve been called on the play where Braun was hurt, as she wasn't given room to land after making the shot. Braun finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Amaya Battle had 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Mallory Heyer and Sophie Hart combined for 21 points and nine rebounds.

The team announced Monday the injury will require surgery, and Braun is out indefinitely.

"Mara has experienced an incredible sophomore season to this point and when we heard the news that the injury she sustained on Sunday would require surgery, it was a really tough blow," Plitzuweit said Monday in a statement. "The development of Mara’s game on both ends of the court this season has been such a joy to watch, and while we know that this setback is incredibly frustrating, we also know that she will continue to be a great teammate and leader in our program. Mara is an elite player and competitor, and we know that she will attack her rehab with enthusiasm and tenacity, and we cannot wait to get her back on the court as soon as her injury fully heals. This is also an opportunity for other players to step up and make things happen on both ends of the court for us."

The Gophers fall to 14-6 on the season, 4-5 in Big Ten play and have now lost three of their last four games. Minnesota is in for a tough stretch if Braun has to miss extended time. She’s started every game this season, leads the Gophers in scoring and is second in three-point percentage. She also averages more than 34 minutes per game.

Minnesota hosts Penn State on Wednesday night.