Nov. 2, 2011
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team played their first of two exhibition games against St. Cloud State Wednesday night, and the Gophers came out fired up and ended strong as they cruised to an 86-51 victory at Williams Arena.
Head coach Pam Borton played every player on her roster in the win, with the Gopher bench accounting for 32 of the team's 86 points.
The Golden Gophers had six players score in double-digits, led by senior Kiara Buford, who led all players with 14 points. Sari Noga added 13 points and Katie Loberg scored 12 points to go along with a team-best eight rebounds. Rounding out the double-digit scorers were freshman Rachel Banham, sophomore Micaella Riche and junior Leah Cotton, who each tallied 11 points for the home team.
Minnesota took an early 7-0 advantage in the opening half and never trailed the rest of the game, leading by as many as 37 points toward the end of the second half.
The squad made 36-of-71 field goal attempts (.507) and was also 5-of-9 from three point range, getting a team-high three treys from Noga.
Banham was a key player for Minnesota in her first game in a Golden Gopher uniform and she definitely proved that as a rookie player she could handle the competition at the college level.
"I was nervous at first and the game took some getting used to, but in the second half I felt more comfortable and got into my rhythm," Banham said.
Once the rookie got into her rhythm the rest of the team responded. Banham matched Buford with a team-best six assists, while adding two rebounds, two blocks and three assists.
The Gophers host their final exhibition contest of the preseason Sunday, Nov. 6 against Bemidji State. First tip from Williams Arena is set for 2 p.m.