EVANSTON, ILL. – The Gophers women’s basketball team began Big Ten play the same way it ended nonconference competition — by rolling over its opposition.
Kenisha Bell and Destiny Pitts each recorded double-doubles as the Gophers cruised to a 90-63 victory over Northwestern on Thursday night.
Bell finished with 26 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and five steals, the second time this season she has toyed with a triple-double. She had 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a victory at Rhode Island on Nov. 13. She has scored at least 20 points in five consecutive games.
Pitts had 22 points and 11 rebounds, going 6-for-10 from three-point range.
Carlie Wagner added 16 points and passed Linda Roberts for fifth on the Gophers all-time career scoring list, with 1,857 points.
The Gophers (12-3) won their final two nonconference games by scores of 112-68 over Cal Poly and 101-75 over California Riverside. Following a six-day holiday break, they began conference play at Evanston Township High School’s Beardsley Gym, with the Wildcats’ Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoing a $110 million renovation this season.
Northwestern (7-8) led 19-16 after one quarter, but the Gophers took control with a 31-point second quarter, getting four three-pointers from Pitts and two from Wagner in the quarter, to take a 10-point lead into halftime.
Bell then scored on three consecutive possessions to start the second half, forcing a Northwestern timeout. Gadiva Hubbard, who finished with 12 points and seven assists, added a three-pointer and a layup on back-to-back possessions. The Gophers outscored Northwestern 43-26 after halftime.
Lindsey Pulliam scored 22 points to lead Northwestern, which shot 39.1 percent from the floor to the Gophers’ 47.8. Abi Scheid (Elk River) added 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.