The Minnesota Gopher women got a balanced scoring effort and evened their Big 10 record at 3-3, beating previously 2nd place Michigan State (4-2) 71-65.
• Rachel Banham had another superb game with 16 points, 7 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Tonight she had plenty of help.
• Kiara Buford with 22 points
• Jackie Voigt with 11 and 3 boards
• Micaella Riche with 9 points, 3 boards and 2 steals off the bench,
• Katie Loberg with 8 points, 7 boards and 3 blocked shots.
The Gophers jumped out to an 11-2 lead, but the Spartans came back to tie at 15-all. Eventually, the Gophers led 35-23 and 38-27 at the half. In the second half the Gophers opened up a 14 point lead at 53-39 but the Spartans got back within 6 at 57-51.
Then Buford hit a jumper from Leah Cotton, and then a pair of FT and Minnesota was back up by 10. The deficit was reduced to 6 again at 65-59 with 1:50 remaining, and the Gophers made just 6-of-12 FT after that. But the Spartans failed to score on 3 straight possessions between 1:00 and :30, and it was 69-59 inside of :30. Only a 3 at the final buzzer got Michigan State within the final score of 71-65.
The game's other crucial sequence came with the score tied at 15-all at 10:30 of the 1st half. Voigt blocked an MSU shot and Riche hit a pair of throws. Banham hit a jumper from Voigt, and a 2 off of a steal. State came back to within 21-17, but Buford hit 1-of-2 throws, Banham and Riche a pair of jumpers, and Voigt a pair of throws and suddenly it was 29-19. The Spartans would never again be closer than 6.
Minnesota shot 52 percent in the 1st half and 48 percent for the game, State just 36 and 41 percent. Even discounting those 12 FT inside of 1:00, the Gophers had already been to the line 26 times, making 21, to the Spartans' 10-of-15.
Player of the Day
Banham and Buford were stellar for the Minnesota Gophers, but player of the day honors go to Katybeth Biewen of Edina. The #2AAAA Hornets remained undefeated with a tough 62-57 road win at #3AAA Richfield. Biewen scored 25 for Edina, who continues to be without her running mate, MC McGrory, at the other guard spot. Richfield's star guard Jessica January scored 18 points, breaking a streak of 6 straight games with 20 points or more.
Coach of the Day
Matt Nilsen, Edina girls