Ann Arbor, Mich. – Michigan found a much more efficient way to score points than the Gophers did on Sunday — just get the ball in the low post to Hallie Thome.
Thome, a 6-foot-5 freshman, scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Wolverines to a 92-76 victory in a women’s basketball game at the Crisler Center.
The loss ended the Gophers’ four-game winning streak and gave Michigan its first two-game regular-season sweep of Minnesota since the 2009-10 season.
Thome made 14 of 20 shots from the field, while the Gophers’ top two scorers, Rachel Banham and Carlie Wagner, were a combined 18-for-48, including 2-for-17 from three-point range. Banham attempted a career-high 31 shots, two off the school record, to get to 29 points.
The Gophers were outscored 25-4 at the free-throw line and gave up 48 points in the paint.
The team’s second-best option was reserve Joanna Hedstrom, who took advantage of some Banham double-teams and scored 18 points and made five three-pointers — both career highs. Coach Marlene Stollings started Hedstrom in the second half, along with Shayne Mullaney (13 points). Allina Starr and Mikayla Bailey stayed on the bench and went scoreless for the game.
It didn’t matter who was guarding Thome, usually Jessie Edwards or Karley Barnes, she got her points. Entering the game averaging 13.2 points per game, the lefthander helped spark a 12-2 run at the end of the third quarter that gave Michigan (12-9, 4-6 Big Ten) the lead for good.
Banham tried to put the team on her back in the fourth quarter as she did five days earlier in a comeback victory over Illinois. The Gophers (14-7, 6-4) got as close as 69-67 before Michigan closed the game on a 23-9 run.
Michigan sophomore Katelyn Flaherty, the 10th-leading scorer in the country, finished with 24 points after a scoreless first quarter. Jillian Dunston had 14 rebounds.
Banham was the only Gophers starter who scored in the first half. Wagner sat out almost the entire second quarter after picking up her second foul. Still, the Gophers trailed only 44-39 at halftime.
Michigan had lost three in a row.