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Behind a 29-point performance from Rachel Banham, the University of Minnesota (8-3) women's basketball team cruised to an 87-49 victory over visiting UMKC (4-6) Friday night at Williams Arena. The sophomore made a career-high 11 field goals, including five from three-point range, while adding seven rebounds, five assists and a block in the win.
Also scoring in double-figures for the Golden Gophers were redshirt freshman Kayla Hirt and junior Micaëlla Riché, who had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Hirt was 6-7 from the floor and 2-3 from the free throw line in matching her career-high in points, while she contributed a career-best three assists and four rebounds. Riché connected on six of her nine field goal attempts and matched Banham for the team lead with seven rebounds.
As a team, the Gophers posted a .600 (36-60) field goal percentage, including .538 (7-13) from three-point range, while outrebounding the Kangaroos, 36-27. Of Minnesota's 87 points, 40 were scored in the paint and 24 were scored off of 16 UMKC turnovers.
Kellogg scored back-to-back baskets in the opening minutes of play to set the tone for the game for Minnesota, as the Gophers would cruise to an early 21-11 lead at the 12:47 mark of the first half.
Banham, who had 20 points and five rebounds in the first 20 minutes of play, hit her third three-pointer of the game at 9:21 to extend Minnesota's lead to 19 points, 32-13, before Riché hit a layup on an assist from Hirt to give the home team a 21-point advantage at 8:20, its largest of the half.
Two three-pointers would pull the Roos to within 16 points of the Gophers at the 1:39 mark, but Riché knocked down a free throw to send the Gophers into the locker room leading, 46-29.
Riché finished the half with nine points and a team-high six rebounds, while Hirt had eight points and two rebounds for Minnesota.
Katie Loberg's block in the first half was the 74th of her career, and gave her sole possession of the No. 8 spot on Minnesota's career record chart. She finished the game with two blocks and two rebounds.
Minnesota continued to roll in the second half, as it outscored the Kangaroos, 10-2, in the first four minutes to take a 25-point lead and it never looked back. The squad would stay ahead by at least 30 points for the remainder of the contest, going ahead by 40 twice in the last five minutes of play.
Minnesota continues its five-game homestand Sunday afternoon when it takes on Robert Morris at 2:00 p.m. from Williams Arena. The contest will serve as Dad's and Daughter's Day, where $30 buys two tickets to the game, two $5 concession vouchers and a commemorative blanket. For more information, log onto mygophersports.com.
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