The University of Minnesota (13-6, 2-3 B1G) women's basketball team fell to visiting Nebraska (13-6, 3-3 B1G), 84-63, Sunday evening in Big Ten action from Williams Arena. Three players scored in double-figures for the Golden Gophers, led by 15 points from Rachel Banham and 10 points apiece from Micaëlla Riché and Shayne Mullaney.
Along with her 15 points, Banham added four assists, two rebounds and a steal, while Riché added eight rebounds and matched her season-high with three steals.
As part of its "Burst the Barn" promotion, Minnesota played the contest in front of 6,361 fans. The attendance was the highest this season at Williams Arena and was the highest attendance since Jan. 18, 2009, when they defeat Michigan in front of 7,221 fans.
With the attendance mark reaching over 5,000, Minnesota head coach Pam Borton donated $1,000 to five local charities, including the Ann Bancroft Foundation, Urban Ventures, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Animal Humane Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.
The Gophers shot .375 (24-64) from the floor, including .421 (7-17) from three-point range, and connected on eight of their 10 free throw attempts.
After falling down 10-0 in the first three minutes of the contest, the Gophers used an 8-0 run, which included a three-pointer from Mullaney and a layup from Riché, to cut Nebraska's lead to four, 10-8, before a jumper from Kayla Hirt, who finished the game with six points and five rebounds, completed the 10-0 run and evened the score, 10-10, at 13:08.
Sari Noga gave Minnesota its first lead of the contest with a three-pointer from the corner, before a steal and a fast-break layup from Banham put the home team ahead by three, 15-12, at the 12:31 mark. Two free throws from Leah Cottonextended the Gophers' lead to five and capped off a 17-2 run for Minnesota. At 12:00, Minnesota held a 17-12 advantage.
With just over 10:00 to play in the half, the Huskers drained a three-pointer to take a one-point lead, but Riché answered with a layup to give the advantage back to the Gophers. The two squads traded leads five times, before evening the game, 29-29, on back-to-back three-pointers from Banham and Mikayla Baileyat 5:36.
Hirt would put Minnesota ahead by two points, 33-31, at 3:45, but a 10-5 run from the Huskers to close out the half gave the visitors a 41-38 lead at halftime.
Minnesota shot .433 (13-30) in the opening stanza, while Nebraska held a slight edge with a .469 (15-32) shooting percentage. The Huskers also held the advantage on the boards with 27 rebounds compared to the Gophers' 21. Thanks to six points from Cotton, four points from Hirt and three points from Bailey, Minnesota got 13 points from its bench in the first half.
Riché was the top scorer for the Gophers, posting eight points along with three rebounds, three steals and a block, while Banham added seven points for the home team.
The second half started similarly to the first, with the Huskers going on a 7-0 run to take a 10-point lead, 48-38, at 18:39. Nebraska would extend its lead to 18 points with 9:40 to play in the game, before going ahead by 24 points, 84-60, at 1:59. Banham would drain a three-pointer with under a minute to play, cutting the lead to 21 points, but that was as close as the Gophers would come before the conclusion of the contest.
Minnesota hits the road for the fourth time in six games on Thursday, Jan. 24, when it takes on #8/8 Penn State live on BTN at 5:30 p.m. CT from the Bryce Jordan Center.