It’s tough to script the start of a four-game homestand any better for the Gophers women’s basketball team.
“We were very poised, and we look like a veteran team in many areas,” said coach Marlene Stollings. “And that’s where you want to be at this point in time.”
Five players reached double digits in scoring as the Gophers beat Penn State 101-68 during the annual Pink Game in front of 3,794 fans on Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena. Sophomore guard Gadiva Hubbard led the effort with 25 points, tying a season high. Freshman Destiny Pitts scored 17 with three three-pointers, Kenisha Bell had 15, and senior Carlie Wagner and sophomore Jasmine Brunson each added 11. It was a season scoring high for Brunson.
The Gophers (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) also reached the triple-digit scoring mark for the fifth time this season but first in Big Ten play in exactly two years, since a 110-73 victory at Nebraska on Feb. 11, 2016. Junior Irene Garrido Perez entered the game late and hit a three-pointer that put them over the top.
Hubbard, coming in averaging 12.8 points per game, started red-hot with the team’s first eight points. She sank two three-pointers, another bucket and added a block and defensive rebound all in less than two minutes early on.
“I think from warm-ups I knew that I would be able to shoot well,” Hubbard said. “I started shooting at the beginning of the game, and it was going in. So I just kept going with it.”
She was a perfect 4-for-4 shooting in the first quarter, including 2-for-2 from three-point range. She also hit back-to-back three-pointers late in the game and finished 5-for-5 from behind the arc. She made 10 of 13 shots overall from the field in 25 minutes.
As a team, the Gophers finished with 13 three-pointers in 23 attempts from six different players. Pitts made three.
The Gophers got points from 10 different players. The spread-the-wealth scoring is part of the momentum for the homestand, according to Pitts.
“I just think it’s significant for us moving forward,” Pitts said. “Especially coming off a big road win versus Purdue.”
That all-around team effort helped the Gophers to 33 points early, tying a season high for points in the first quarter. They also led by 29 at the half, 55-26, tying another season high for their largest halftime lead. They didn’t let up out of the break, either. The Gophers came out in the third quarter with a 7-0 run.
Defensively, the Gophers held their opponent to eight points in a quarter (second quarter) for the second time this season.
“To do that at this time of year in February, I think speaks to the progression of our defense,” Stollings said.
The victory also gave the Gophers sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten standings. The top four teams in the standings at the end of the season receive a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament, which starts February 28 in Indianapolis.
The Lady Lions (14-12, 5-8) have lost four of their past five games. Teniya Page led them in scoring with 22 points.