'U' women crash boards, edge Wisconsin for first road win of season
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The University of Minnesota (12-4, 1-1) women's basketball team picked up its first road win of the season with a 60-55 victory at Wisconsin (8-7, 0-2) Sunday afternoon in Big Ten Conference action from the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Micaëlla Riché and Kayla Hirt both scored in double-figures for the Golden Gophers, with Riché posting 14 points and eight rebounds, and Hirt adding 12 points and six rebounds. Rachel Banham was Minnesota's top rebounder, pulling down 10 boards to go along with nine points, four assists and four steals.
Minnesota had a solid team effort against Wisconsin, with Sari Noga posting nine points, seven rebounds and three assists, Kionna Kellogg registering eight points and seven rebounds and Leah Cotton contributing six points in the win.
From the floor, the Gophers shot .393 (22-56) and held a +15 advantage on the board, 44-29. Minnesota got 20 points from its bench and outscored Wisconsin in the paint, 24-10.
Minnesota's defense played tough in the second half, as they allowed only two Badgers to score any points in the stanza. Morgan Paige and Jacki Gulczynski made the only baskets for the home team in the final 20 minutes of play, with all but one coming from beyond the arch and at the free throw line.
The Gophers jumped out early on the Badgers, going up 7-2 at 17:08 on a basket by Riché. The home team fought its way back to within one point, 9-8, at 15:19, but Minnesota used field goals from Hirt and Riche go ahead by five points with just under eight minutes to play in the stanza.
Wisconsin would not fade away easily, however, as they closed the gap to one points, 13-12, at 12:34, before taking its first lead of the game, 14-13, at 11:50. The Badgers would take a three-point lead at 8:14, but the Gophers used a 4-1 run to tie the game, 19-19, with just over six minutes to play in the half.
A Wisconsin basket would put the visitors down by two points, but Minnesota put together a 9-2 run, capped by a free throw from Banham, to take a 28-21 advantage with one minute remaining until halftime. The Badgers made it interesting in the final minute of play as a last-second jumper made the score 30-27 at the half.
Three different Gophers scored six points in the opening stanza, including Kellogg, Riché and Hirt, while Banham paced the team with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Minnesota outshot Wisconsin, .371 (13-35)-.333 (9-27), and outrebounded the home team, 25-16, in the first half, and score 11 second-chance points.
The Gophers continued to play well early in the second half, with the squad taking an eight point lead, 40-32, on a three-pointer from Noga at 13:16. The Minnesota advantage improved to 11 points at 4:57 on back-to-back buckets from Riché and back-to-back jumpers from Hirt, before Banham made it 12 points with a pair of free throws at 2:25.
Wisconsin would make it a four-point contest with 18 seconds to play on a three-pointer from Jacki Gulczynski, but a free throw from Noga and a steal by Mullaney sealed the win for the Maroon and Gold.
The Gophers return to the friendly confines of Williams Arena for their Big Ten home opener vs. No. 24 Ohio State Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.