Dec. 1, 2011
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team was not able to overcome a slow start in the first half as it dropped its contest at Wake Forest, 82-65, Thursday night at Joel Coliseum as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The loss dropped the Golden Gophers' record to an even 4-4 on the year, while the squad also fell to 2-3 all-time in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The Golden Gophers (4-4) had four players score in double-digits in the contest. Junior Katie Loberg posted her second double-double of the season with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while senior Kiara Buford extended her streak of double-digit scoring performances to eight games with a team-leading 15 points.
Freshman Rachel Banham added 12 points and Micaëlla Riché contributed a career-high 11 points and tied a career-best with seven rebounds.
As a team, outrebounded Wake Forest, 39-34, while also shooting .833 from the free throw line, compared to .750 by the home team.
Neither team scored a point through the first four minutes of the contest, but the Demon Deacons (5-1) finally made the first basket of the game with 15:45 to play in the opening half. With that field goal, the home squad went on a 20-0 run, before Sari Noga, who finished the night with six points and a steal, scored the first points of the contest for the Gophers with a three-pointer nearly 10 minutes into the first half.
Minnesota found their rhythm near the close of the opening stanza, however, putting together a 20-8 run to pull within eight points of Wake Forest with just over four minutes to play. The Gophers then cut the lead to four points on a Banham three-pointer with 40 seconds on the clock, but headed into the locker room trailing by nine at halftime following five unanswered points by the Demon Deacons in the last 30 seconds.
Banham led the visitors in the opening half with 10 points, and Buford finished the stanza with nine points, which included a 4-of-5 performance from the free throw line. Riché come off the bench to score seven points for the Gophers.
The second half opened with the home team making a 21-8 run on the Maroon and Gold, before Minnesota once again found a surge at the 12:57 mark of the second stanza to go on an 8-0 run and made the score 61-47. The Golden Gophers were unable to close the gap, though, as they ran out of time and fell, 82-65.
Minnesota opens a four-game homestand Sunday when it faces No. 1/1 Baylor at Williams Arena in the second-annual Big 12/Big Ten Challenge. The game, which is set to get underway at 1:00 p.m., will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.