Jan. 25, 2012
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team (11-10, 3-4 Big Ten) is set to host Wisconsin (6-13, 2-5 Big Ten) in a Big Ten Conference Border Battle Thursday night at Williams Arena. Tip off for the contest is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 26
Wisconsin at Minnesota - 7:00 p.m. CT
Play-by-Play - Matt Nelson
Analyst - Andy Kimball
Play-by-Play - Corbu Stathes
Analyst - Lynnette Sjoquist
Gametracker via Gophersports.com
Minnesota - 11-10 Overall, 3-4 Big Ten
Wisconsin - 6-13 Overall, 2-5 Big Ten
Williams Arena (14,625)
Minnesota trails Wisconsin, 29-34
The Gophers enter Thursday's Border Battle vs. Wisconsin with an 11-10 record on the season and a 3-4 Big Ten Conference clip following a league split with Michigan State and Nebraska last week.
Minnesota picked up an impressive, 71-65, victory against the Spartans Thursday at Williams Arena, before falling to the Cornhuskers, 49-64, in its first Big Ten meeting at the Devaney Center.
The Maroon and Gold is currently tied with Iowa for seventh in league standings.
Defense and rebounding have been the most consistent components to the team's game this season, as the Gophers rank fourth on the year in scoring defense, holding their opponents to 59.7 points per game, while ranking third in field goal percentage defense by holding the opposition to .363 mark.
Minnesota also leads the league in offensive rebounding percentage (.389), and ranks third in rebounding offense (42.4), offensive rebounds (15.5) and defensive rebounds (26.9). The squad's rebounding margin (+4.0) is the fourth-best mark in the Big Ten this season.
Rachel Banham boasts a team-high 15.4 points-per-game average on the year, while she also paces the Maroon and Gold with a Big Ten scoring average of 18.6 points per game.
The rookie is also tied with Katie Loberg for the team-lead in rebounding in conference-only contests with an average of 6.9 rebounds per game.
Loberg has been Minnesota's most consistent player on the boards all season, however, averaging a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game, while the junior also carries a squad-best 23 blocks into the match up with the Badgers.
Kiara Buford ranks second on the team in points per game with 13.5, while leading the Maroon and Gold in assists (67) and steals (43).
The Badgers make the trip to Minneapolis with a 6-13 overall record and a 2-5 conference clip following a 20-point victory vs. Northwestern, 75-55, Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center.
With its 2-5 conference mark, Wisconsin is tied with Northwestern for ninth place in league standings, with its two victories coming against the Wildcats and on the road at Illinois.
On the year, the Badgers are averaging 6.1 makes per game from three-point range and are shooting .337 from beyond the arch, a mark that currently ranks third in the Big Ten.
Overall, Wisconsin is averaging only 57.8 points per game, 7.3 points less than its opponents.
Taylor Wurtz is the only Badger averaging double-digit points on the year, with a scoring average of 15.4 points per game, while the junior is one of three players averaging double-digits in conference-only contests.
Wurtz is second with an average of 13.3 points per contest behind Anya Covington, who boasts a Big Ten scoring average of 14.0 points per game. Morgan Paige rounds out the trio with 12.0 points per game.
Wurtz not only leads Wisconsin in scoring, but the guard also paces the squad in rebounding with 7.5 per game and with 30 steals.
Jade Davis has dished out a team-best 57 assists and also leads the Badgers with an .824 free throw percentage and ranks second with 22 steals.
The Gophers trail Wisconsin all-time in the Border Battle, 29-34, with the Badgers claiming victory in the teams' last five meetings.
Minnesota leads the series 16-12 in meetings in Minneapolis, but it has not posted a win at the Barn vs. Wisconsin since Jan. 7, 2007.
Kelly Roysland, then a senior, scored 20 points to lead the way as Minnesota fought to a 71-53 victory over Wisconsin in that contest.
The Gophers' last win vs. the Badgers came exactly a year after its last home victory vs. the squad. On Jan. 7, 2008, Emily Fox scored 24 of her game-high 29 points in the second half to lead Minnesota to an 81-73 victory at the Kohl Center.
Last Time Out
The Gophers could not overcome a 20-0 run from No. 20/24 Nebraska at the midway portion of Sunday's contest, as they fell to the host Cornhuskers, 49-64, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Rachel Banham led Minnesota with 13 points and four assists, while Leah Cotton chipped in 10 points a block and a steal.
On the boards, Katie Loberg paced the Maroon and Gold with eight rebounds, while Micaëlla Riché and Kionna Kellogg followed with seven and six rebounds, respectively, off of the bench.
Brianna Mastey also tied her career-high with four blocks in the contest.
Minnesota's 49 points scored in the contest was is lowest total of the year, and was the first time the Gophers had been held to less than 50 points in a loss since falling, 53-44, to Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament last season.
The Maroon and Gold was held scoreless the final 4:48 of the first half and the first 5:40 of the second half, which allowed Nebraska to put together a 20-0 run and take a 47-23 lead with 14:20 to play, matching its largest lead of the contest.
Up Next for the Gophers
The Gophers remain at home to host No. 9/9 Ohio State Sunday at 12:00 p.m. at Williams Arena.
The league contest will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
Minnesota is 10-50 all-time when facing the Buckeyes, which includes a 7-20 record at home.
The Maroon and Gold last defeated Ohio State on Jan. 15, 2009 on the road in Columbus, thanks to three free throws in the final 17 seconds by Ashley Ellis-Milan. It was the first and only win for the Gophers at Value City Arena.
Minnesota's last home win against the Buckeyes came on Jan. 24, 2008. In the 79-70 victory, Leslie Knight scored a career high 33 points to help Minnesota defeat the then-No. 15 ranked Buckeyes.
Double-Digit Scoring Streak
Rachel Banham has scored in double-digits in 17-straight games heading into Thursday's contest vs. Wisconsin.
The rookie's streak is currently the third-longest in the league, as she trails only Ohio State's Tayler Hill (20) and Jordan Hooper (19).
Her streak dates back to the Gophers' Nov. 20 win vs. North Dakota State.
Banham has scored in double-figures in 19 of the Gophers' 21 games played on the year.
The only two games in which the rookie scored less than 10 points was vs. USF and Binghamton in mid-November.
B1G Honors Wagner, Bell and Hedstrom
Carlie Wagner's selection to the All-Big Ten Second Team headlined Minnesota's postseason awards.
Gophers Drop Regular Season Finale at No. 2 Maryland
Minnesota will next turn its attention to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
Game Preview: Maryland
Minnesota will conclude its regular season facing the No. 2/5 team in the nation in College Park on Sunday.