INDIANAPOLIS – It was much closer this time.
Instead of losing to the nation’s fourth-ranked women’s basketball team by 33 points like they did five days ago, the Gophers fell to Maryland 92-80 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
The Terrapins (28-2), seeded second, shot 52.2 percent from the field, and nearly an identical 52.4 percent on three-pointers. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 28 points, going 6-for-8 from behind the arc, to lead a finely tuned Maryland attack. Three other starters had 13, 14 and 15 points.
“They have a number of people that can score from anywhere on the floor,” Gophers coach Marlene Stollings said. “So you take away something, there’s another person there.
“We were trying to get it to 10 in the second half, and every time that we would get on a little run, they answered it. And that’s what championship teams do.”
Gadiva Hubbard, a freshman who came off the bench, led the 10th-seeded Gophers (15-16) with a career-high 28 points. Carlie Wagner added 21 and Kenisha Bell, who suffered a left leg injury early in the fourth quarter, and Bryanna Fernstrom each had 11 points.
Maryland took the lead for good at 8-6 and led 27-14 at the end of the first quarter.
“The start of the game, obviously, hurt us, transition defense and then turning the ball over,” Stollings said. “… But three very good quarters for us.”
Minnesota rallied to within five, at 31-26 in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Hubbard had five points in their 12-4 run. Maryland answered with a 12-2 run and led 47-33 at halftime.
The closest the Gophers got in the second half was 11 points, at 66-55, with 1:28 left in the third on Hubbard’s layup.
“[Hubbard] shot the ball extremely well, but she also made some great decisions,” Stollings said. “She made very nice reads, and you don’t often see that from a freshman in this type of a game and this type of moment. She has an extremely bright future ahead of her.”
The Gophers shot 44.8 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers, five more than Maryland.
The loss eliminated the one route the Gophers had to an NCAA tournament bid — winning this tournament — but they likely will get an invitation to the Women’s NIT or the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
In other quarterfinals:
No. 9 Ohio State 99, Northwestern 68: Kelsey Mitchell, the Big Ten Player of the Year, made six three-pointers and scored 27 points as the Buckeyes (26-5) routed the Wildcats (20-11). “Our defense stayed hammer-down, not frustrated,” Mitchell said. Nia Coffey (Hopkins) scored 21 points for Northwestern, which shot only 36 percent and committed 21 turnovers.
Purdue 66, Indiana 60: Dominique Oden scored a career-high 24 points and Ashley Morrissette had 21 to lead fifth-seeded Boilermakers (21-11) over the fourth-seeded Hoosiers (20-10). Indiana led 39-24 at halftime, but the Hoosiers were outscored 19-6 in the third quarter. “It’s definitely a tale of two halves,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said.
Michigan State 74, Michigan 64: Victoria Gaines had 18 points to help the sixth-seeded Spartans (21-10) build a big lead and hold off the third-seeded Wolverines (22-9). Kysre Gondrezick had 23 points for Michigan.