The University of Minnesota (13-4, 2-1 B1G) women's basketball team got double-figure scoring from Rachel Banham, Micaëlla Riché and Kionna Kellogg to earn an 83-74 victory vs. Ohio State (10-6, 0-3 B1G) in its Big Ten home opener Thursday night at Williams Arena.
Banham scored a team-best 24 points on 8-19 shooting from the floor and 8-9 shooting from the free throw line, while adding six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Riché was 6-14 from the field and a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line to notch 20 points and eight rebounds, and Kellogg contributed 13 points on 5-6 shooting, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Sari Nogawas the Golden Gophers' top rebounder, pulling down a game-high nine boards, while adding six points, four assists, a block and a steal.
Thanks to Noga's efforts on the glass, Minnesota held a sizable rebounding advantage on the Buckeyes, as it had 44 team rebounds compared to just 29 team rebounds for the visitors. The Gophers used the gap to its advantage, scoring 19 of their points off offensive rebounds. Minnesota also scored 29 of its points off 17 Ohio State turnovers.
Ohio State took the early lead with the first basket of the game, but the Gophers answered back with seven-straight points, including three from Shayne Mullaney, to take a five-point lead at 18:12. The Buckeyes had an answer for the home team, however, as they even the contest at 7-7 just a minute later.
Two baskets from Kellogg put Minnesota back on top by four and Banham extended it to six at 15:17. The Gophers would go on to lead by 10 points in the first 10 minutes of play, before the Buckeyes cut the advantage back to three points, 23-20, at 9:30. Minnesota put together a 12-2 run to take a, 35-22, lead at 5:20, before pushing its advantage to 19 points just before halftime on a layup from Noga and a pair of free throws from Banham.
Banham was Minnesota's top scorer in the first 20 minutes of play, draining 16 points on 5-12 shooting from the floor to go along with a 6-6 outing at the free throw line. Riche added 10 points and four rebounds, while Kellogg notched nine points and a team-best five rebounds.
Despite being outshot by Ohio State, .524 to .421, the home team forced the Buckeyes to turn the ball over 12 times, scoring 24 points off the visitors' miscues. Minnesota also connected on 17 of its 18 free throw attempts and held a 24-12 rebounding advantage.
The Gophers would go ahead by 25 points, its largest lead of the game, thanks to an 8-2 run to open the second half, but once again, Ohio State managed to creep its way back into the contest at the 12:46 mark following a 13-2 run, making the score 60-46.
Back-to-back field goals from Riché pushed the home team's lead back to 19 points, 67-48, with 11:00 to play and the Gophers maintained at least a 16-point lead for the next 6:27. The Buckeyes made a late surge to pull within eight points with 1:20 remaining in the contest, but a three-point play from Banham with just seconds remaining stopped the momentum and sealed the win for the Maroon and Gold.
The Gophers return to action Thursday, Jan. 17, when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on No. 12/11 Purdue on a 6:00 p.m. CT contest.