March 7, 2014
Despite an early second-half comeback, the sixth-seeded University of Minnesota women's basketball team fell short of upsetting No. 3-seeded Nebraska, 80-67, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
With the loss, the Gophers fell to 20-12 on the year, while the Huskers improve to 23-6 and advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals where they will face the Michigan State.
Freshman Stabresa McDaniel led the Gophers by tying her career high with 14 points, followed by junior guard Rachel Banham with 12 and redshirt freshman Amanda Zahui B. with 11 points. Banham recorded four assists and three steals during the game, while Zahui B. notched nine rebounds for the Golden Gophers.
The Maroon and Gold finished the game with a .460 field percentage (29-63) and .429 shooting percentage (6-14) from three point range while going 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Nebraska shot a .500 field goal percentage (32-64), while going 8-for-20 from three point range and posting a .889 (8-9) free throw percentage.
Nebraska's Jordan Hooper started the game off hot for the Huskers as she would score six of their initial eight points. The Gophers trailed by as many as nine points before catching up to the Huskers late in the first half. Minnesota would go into the locker room on a 12-6 run ending in a show stopping three-pointer made by Banham with 3.9 second left on the clock.
The momentum of Banham's first half shot pushed Minnesota to begin the second half with a dominating two and half minutes. Thanks to a Zahui B. layup at 17:47, the Gophers gained their first lead of the game, 42-41. Throughout the next two minutes, the Gophers and Huskers tied twice as both teams fought for control of the game.
McDaniel solidified the Gophers largest lead of the game with 13:18 left in the second half with a steal, breakaway into a quick layup through traffic in order to put the Gophers up 50-46. Nebraska challenged back and tied the game up for the third time. Hooper, who ended the game with 33 points, led the Huskers to a seven point lead with ten minutes remaining in the game.
Nebraska gained momentum as Hooper and Tear'a Laudermill led the Huskers to a 70-59 lead with just over four minutes to go in the game. Even with a late three-pointer from freshman Joanna Hedstrom, the Gophers ultimately fell to the Huskers, 80-67.
The Gophers will find out their postseason fate when ESPN televises the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. CT.
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The Gophers' road game against the No. 6 Gamecocks will air on SEC Network. Tipoff is 2 p.m. CT Sunday.
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Marlene Stollings won her 50th game at Minnesota as the Gophers moved to 5-1 at home this season.
Game Preview: Army West Point
Minnesota plays its second of three games in six days on Thursday night. The 8 p.m. game will be on BTN.