Gophers Win Opener at Northern Iowa
Nov. 9, 2013
Four players scored in double-figures as the University of Minnesota (1-0) women's basketball team defeated Northern Iowa (0-1), 73-55, in its 2013-14 season opener Saturday afternoon at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Junior Rachel Banham led the Golden Gophers with 15 points and seven rebounds, which included 13 points in the second half, while Shayne Mullaney added 14 points, three assists and two steals. Both Jackie Johnson and Micaëlla Riché notched 13 points in the winning effort, with the baker's dozen marking a career-high for Johnson. The sophomore also had a career-high six rebounds.
The Gophers finished the contest with a .596 shooting percentage, which included a .545 effort from beyond the arch where Mullaney matched her career-high as she was 4-for-4 from three-point range.
Minnesota was able to hold Northern Iowa to just 15 points in the first half of the contest, with no single Panther player scoring more than four points. The Gophers opened the game on an impressive 22-6 run, which included seven points off the bench for Johnson who finished the half with a team-leading nine points. Riche and Noga each had five rebounds in the stanza to lead the Maroon and Gold.
The Gophers notched a .682 (15-22) field goal percentage and connected on three of their five three-point field goal attempts in the first half.
Early foul trouble forced Banham to the bench for a majority of the opening stanza, but the junior guard scored the first nine points of the second half to put Minnesota on top, 49-20, and extend her double-digit scoring streak to 17 games, dating back to last season.
Minnesota would lead by as many as 30 points at the 13:30 mark of the second half, but Northern Iowa would cut the Gophers' advantage to 17 at 6:31 after connecting on six three-point field goals in the half. Minnesota would not let the Panthers pull any closer, however, as they held on for the 18-point victory.
The Gophers are set to host Charlotte in their home opener on Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m. Follow Minnesota women's basketball on Facebook (facebook.com/GophersWBB) and Twitter (@GophersWBB) to get a special ticket deal for the contest.