Despite 30 points from Kenisha Bell, the University of Minnesota Gophers lost their first home game of the season in their Big Ten home opener. They fell 79-74 to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Bell led the team, breaking 20 points for a sixth straight game. Gadiva Hubbard also had a strong game, scoring 15 points to go along with a season high eight assists. Destiny Pitts and Carlie Wagner each had 11 points, making it the eighth time this season that four Gophers have hit double-digit scoring in the same game.
The whole game was back-and-forth from the start with six ties and 11 lead changes. The game came down to the end of the fourth quarter, with the Gophers rallying late before losing in the final seconds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter: The Huskers held the Gophers scoreless for the first two minutes of the game. Bell hit a three to put the Gophers on the board, quickly followed by another from Wagner. The Gophers trailed until Wagner hit her second three of the day to tie the game at 15-15. Pitts finished out the first quarter with a buzzer beater to put the Gophers up 24-19. Pitts led the Gophers in scoring in the first putting up nine points, all from behind the arc.
Second Quarter: The Gophers and Huskers went back and forth throughout the second quarter. Bell was the first player for either team to break 10 points in the game and led the Gophers through the second quarter with seven points. Hubbard put up six assists in the first half. The Gophers led 41-38 at the end of the second quarter and were 7-13 from behind the arc.
Third Quarter: After scoring only six points in the first half, Wagner hit a big field goal from behind the arc to put the Gophers back ahead in the third. Bell also cracked 20 points for the sixth game in a row in the third. She was the top scorer in the third quarter with 10 points. The Gophers maintained a slight lead, 59-57, after three.
Fourth Quarter: The Gophers maintained the lead until the Huskers tied the game at 64 with six minutes left. Bell knotted it back up shortly after but Nebraska scored five straight points to go up 71-66. After forcing a Nebraska shot clock violation with two minutes left, Wagner hit a jumper to cut the deficit to one. Nebraska took the lead right back before Bell came through with a huge steal and two points giving the Gophers a 74-73 lead with 38 seconds left. Nebraska was able to score in the paint and force two missed threes down the stretch to seal the victory.
• The Gophers drop to 12-3 on the season and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
• Jessie Edwards hit a season high for blocks including three in the first half.
• The Gophers first five field goals all came from behind the arc.
• The Gophers did not commit a foul until halfway through the third quarter
• Hubbard tied her career high in assists with eight
•This was the third time this season that Bell has broken 30 points. She also hit 30 against Boston College and UC Riverside.
The Gophers will play their next game at Ohio State on Jan. 4. The game will tip-off at 6 p.m.
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