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The University of Minnesota women's basketball team jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as it defeated Concordia, St. Paul, 76-49,Wednesday night in exhibition play from Williams Arena. Four Gophers scored in double figures, paced by 22 points from sophomore Rachel Banham.
Banham shot .571 from the field (8-14) and added five rebounds, five steals and one block. Junior Kionna Kellogg accounted for 14 points and paced Minnesota with eight rebounds, while freshman Mikayla Bailey had 11 points and three steals as a member of the starting five.
In her first game action in two years, redshirt freshman Kayla Hirt put up 10 points, pulled down five rebounds and added three assists and two steals for the home team.
All 10 available players saw time on the floor, with seven scoring at least three points apiece.
The Gophers' defense was relentless early in the contest, holding the Golden Bears without a field goal for the first 7:15 of the game. By the time halftime rolled around, Minnesota had already collected 12 steals and scored 18 points off of 18 Concordia turnovers.
Overall, the Gophers scored 30 of their 71 points off of 29 Golden Bear turnovers and swiped the ball 17 times.
But, it wasn't just the defense that was impressive, as Minnesota built up a 20-point lead with 8:27 to play in the half, before going on to hold a 44-24 lead at halftime.
The home team led by as many as 28 points in the contest, shooting .444 on the game, including an impressive 7-11 from behind the arch.
The Gophers will host Minnesota State Sunday afternoon in their second and final exhibition game of the season. The contest is set to begin at 2:00 p.m. from Williams Arena. Tickets for the exhibition contest are only $6 and can be purchased at mygophersports.com.
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