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Jan. 3, 2013
Despite getting 21 points from Rachel Banham, the University of Minnesota (11-4, 0-1 B1G) women's basketball team dropped its Big Ten Conference opener at Michigan State (13-1, 1-0 B1G), 66-51, Thursday evening at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
The loss snapped the Golden Gophers' five-game winning streak, while it moved the Spartans' winning streak to five games.
Banham scored 17 of her points in the second half and added two assists, while Kionna Kellogg and Micaëlla Riché also scored in double-figures for the Golden Gophers with 10 points apiece. Riché added team-highs with eight rebounds and three steals, and Kellogg pulled down five rebounds. Sari Nogawas also tough on the boards for Minnesota, pulling down seven rebounds to go along with three points, two assists and a steal.
As a team, the Gophers shot just .333 from the field compared to a .429 for the Spartans, while Michigan State also held a 45-33 rebounding advantage and got 35 points from its bench.
The Spartans scored the first three points of the contest, but Minnesota answered with nine unanswered points to go ahead, 9-3, at 12:09, while holding the home team scoreless for 6:40 during the run.
Michigan State would chip away at the Gophers' lead, and managed to pull ahead, 12-11, at 9:22 on back-to-back buckets from Jasmine Hines. Minnesota's defense when back to work, holding the Spartans to just three points in the next 5:43, which helped the visitors regain an 18-15 lead. But, a 5-2 run from the Spartans to end the half sent the teams into the locker room tied, 20-20.
With fouls limiting the play of Banham, Riché and Leah Cotton, no Gopher had more than two field goals in the opening stanza, though Banham and Riche each had four points to lead the team. Noga was Minnesota's top rebounder with six boards, while Riché, Kellogg and Katie Lobergadded three rebounds apiece.
Michigan State opened the second half with five-straight points to take a 25-20 lead, and would go on to lead by as many as eight points at the 12:35 mark.
Banham took the game into her own hand and led the Gophers on a 9-0 run to give the lead back to Minnesota, 39-38, at 9:26. The run started with a three-pointer from Banham at 10:42 which pulled the Gophers within three points of the home team, before Kellogg, on an assist from Banham, put in a layup to close the gap to one point. Banham would add two more points to give the visitors a one-point advantage.
The lead wouldn't last long however, as Michigan State put together an 8-0 run to take a 46-39 advantage with just under seven minutes to play. The home team would go ahead by 15 points, giving Minnesota its largest deficit of the game, which was a deficit it could not overcome.
Minnesota will be back in action when in travels to Madison, Wis., to take on Wisconsin Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
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