Strong First Half Propels Gophers to Victory over Ohio
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team came away with a big win over Ohio Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena, taking down the Bobcats, 85-40, in the opening round of the Subway Classic. The Gophers will play in the Subway Classic Championship Game Sunday at 1 p.m. against Maine.
Minnesota had three players score in double figures, led by 18 points from sophomore Rachel Banham. The guard shot 7-9 from the field, including 4-5 from three-point range, and added four steals and three assists. Junior Sari Nogacontributed 14 points, which included a career-best three three-pointers, and registered four assists and three steals, each of which were career-highs.
After missing the first two games of the season with an injury, senior Katie Lobergmade her first appearance of the 2012-13 season, posting 12 points on 6-8 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks.
All 11 players logged minutes in the victory, with 10 scoring at least two points. Junior Micaëlla Riché had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, while freshman Shayne Mullaneyregistered career-highs with eight points, eight assists, three rebounds and two steals in 24 minutes.
The Gophers tallied a .569 (33-58) field goal percentage in the contest, which included a .571 clip from three-point range, while outrebounding the Bobcats, 47-32, and recording 16 steals to Ohio's nine. Minnesota also had 25 assists and eight blocks.
Minnesota's final numbers were impressive, but it was a strong first half that carried the squad.
Ohio opened the game with a free throw to take an early 1-0 lead, but the Gophers would dominate the half from that point on. Minnesota put together a 13-0 run, which was capped by Banham's third three-pointer of the game, to go up 13-1 at 16:14. Ohio managed to connect on its first field goal of the stanza at 14:44 and added a pair of free throws to make the score 20-5 at 12:02, before the Maroon and Gold went on a remarkable 24-0 run to go up 44-5 with 6:29 to play in the half. The home team held the Bobcats without a field goal for 12 minutes and 11 seconds during the run. The Gophers would go on to take a program-record 44 point lead at halftime, 60-16.
The home team's 60 points tied for the fourth-most all-time for a Gopher squad in a single half. The last time Minnesota scored 60 points in a half was exactly 11 years ago to the date vs. Butler (11/17/01). The Maroon and Gold would go on to win that game, 114-65.
The Gophers' defense was relentless in the opening half, holding the Bobcats to only two field goals and a .095 shooting percentage. Minnesota had 11 steals, including two each from Kionna Kellogg, Banham, Noga and Mikayla Bailey, while scoring 27 points off of 14 Ohio turnovers.
Minnesota shot .719 from the field, .750 from beyond the arch and was a flawless 8-8 from the free throw line in the opening stanza. Ohio scored all but five of its points at the free throw line, but only connected on 11 of its 16 attempts.
The Gophers would lead by as many as 49 points at the 12:02 mark in the second half and cruised to its third-straight victory.