Carlie Wagner scored 25 points and Kenisha Bell had 19 points and nine assists as the Gophers women’s basketball team routed Illinois 78-50 on Wednesday night at Williams Arena in Big Ten women’s basketball.
The Gophers (11-8, 2-4 Big Ten) shot better than Illinois, 44.4 percent to 31.7 percent, and badly outrebounded the visitors 50-32.
“At the beginning of the game, I was worried about being poised,” said Bell, on a postgame radio interview after struggling with turnovers. “If I am not scoring, give me some assists.”
She had seven assists in the first half, then started hitting shots in the second.
Alex Wittinger, a 6-1 sophomore from Delano, led the Illini (8-11, 3-3) with 24 points but did not get much help as her team stayed winless (0-9) on the road this season.
The Gophers led 20-10 after one quarter on a 9-0 closing run and 38-22 at halftime after finishing a 13-3 run. Wagner had 13 points by halftime, just enough to pass Debbie Hunter for 11th on Minnesota’s all-time career scoring list.
The Illini opened the second half by scoring seven consecutive points, pulling within 38-29. But Bell dominated the rest of the quarter, scoring 12 points, as the Gophers expanded their lead to 55-35. After missing her first two shots of the half, she made five jumpers in a row and was 2-for-3 at the free-throw line. The lead just grew in the fourth quarter.
Gadiva Hubbard also reached double figures for the Gophers with 15 points while Jessie Edwards had nine points and eight rebounds.