Feb. 15, 2014
Head coach Pam Bortontallied her 300th-career victory as the University of Minnesota women's basketball team (17-9, 6-6) secured its fourth-straight Big Ten Conference win at Northwestern (14-11, 4-8), 82-64, Saturday afternoon. The four-game league winning streak is the first for the Golden Gophers since the 2008-09 season.
With a short roster of just seven players, each Gopher contributed immensely to the 18-point road victory. Rachel Banham led all players with 32 points, while Amanda Zahui B. posted her 12th double-double of the year with 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Kayla Hirt matched her career-high with 16 points and added a season-best eight rebounds, and Sari Nogahad 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
In her second start of the season, Mikayla Bailey registered career-highs with 10 assists in 38 minutes of work. It was the first time a Gopher had 10 or more assists in a game since China Antoine dished out 11 on Nov. 20, 2010. Micaëlla Richécame off the bench to contribute four points and seven rebounds.
Minnesota had 44 points in the paint and scored 13 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds. The Gophers out-rebounded the Wildcats, 49-33, and only committed eight turnovers throughout the contest.
Thanks to a .529 (18-34) second-half shooting percentage, the Maroon and Gold concluded the game with a .479 (34-71) field goal percentage and was 12-for-16 from the free throw line.
After taking an early four-point lead to open the game, Minnesota gave up its first lead of the game, 9-8, following a 7-2 run from the Wildcats. From there, the Gophers would fall behind by as many as 11 points, 30-19, with 6:35 remaining in the half, but a 16-7 run by Minnesota closed the gap to two points, 37-35, at halftime.
Minnesota out-shot Northwestern, .432 (16-37) to .417 (15-36), but the Wildcats connected on five three-pointers in the opening half, compared to just two three-pointers for the Gophers. Minnesota also held the advantage on the boards, 26-18, thanks to nine rebounds from Zahui and six rebounds from Hirt.
Banham had 14 points and Hirt had 10 points to lead the Gophers though the first 20 minutes of play.
Minnesota opened the half strong, cutting Northwestern's lead to just one point, 42-41, at 16:14, before finally taking its lead back, 49-48, with 11:20 to play on a jumper in the paint from Banham. The two squads would trade leads six times, before the Gophers took the lead for good with 5:17 to play. After trailing by two points at the 6:44 mark, Minnesota concluded the contest on a 26-6 run to secure the 18-point victory.
Minnesota returns home to Williams Arena for a 7:00 p.m. showdown with No. 23/23 Purdue on Feb. 20.
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