The University of Minnesota (16-12, 5-9 B1G) women's basketball team was not able to overcome a strong second half from #22/21 Purdue (20-7, 9-5 B1G) as it dropped a close contest to the Boilermakers, 75-63, Sunday afternoon in Big Ten action from Williams Arena.
Rachel Banham was the Golden Gophers' top scorer with 21 points and six assists, while Micaëlla Riché, Sari Noga and Kionna Kelloggalso scored in double-figures for the Maroon and Gold. Riché finished with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, Noga connected on four three-pointers to add 12 points and two steals and Kellogg contributed 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Minnesota and Purdue each tallied a .500 (14-28) field goal percentage in the first half, but the Gophers' hot hand cooled in the second as they managed to shoot just .294 (10-34) from the field compare to .478 (11-23) for the Boilermakers.
Minnesota fell down 7-0 to open the game, but back-to-back baskets from Banham cut the visitor's lead to just three, 7-4, at the 17:21 mark and a three-pointer from Shayne Mullaneymade it a two-point game just a minute later.
The Gophers took their first lead of the contest, 10-9, on a jumper from Kellogg at 15:09, but the Boilermakers answered back with a three-pointer to regain their advantage. After trading leads and ties, Banham put Minnesota on top by two points, 17-15, with a short jumper at 12:21 and Riché added to the lead with a layup at 11:02.
From there, the two teams would trade leads for the duration of the opening stanza, with neither team leading by more than three points until Banham drained a last-second three-pointer to send the Gophers into halftime with a 40-36 lead.
Banham had 17 points, three assists and a block in the first 20 minutes of action, while Noga and Kellogg each added six points for the home team.
Minnesota took its largest lead of the game when Riché connected on a free throw early in the second half, but Purdue would eventually take a 56-50 lead at 12:49 following a 20-9 run capped by a three-pointer from the Boilermakers' KK Houser.
The Gophers continued to chip away at the Boilermakers' lead, with Noga draining her fourth three-pointer of the contest to pull the home team to within four points, 63-59, with 5:18 to play. Banham connected on a long jumper to close the gap to two points, 63-61, but a pair of baskets from Purdue would extend the gap back to four points. From there, the Gophers were forced to foul the Boilermakers and eventually would trail by 12 points when time ran out.
The Gophers will host #7/9 Penn State in their home finale Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on BTN and will serve as Senior Night for Leah Cotton and Katie Loberg.