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GOPHERS WOMEN 66, MINN. ST. MANKATO 56 (EXHIB.)

Season opener: vs. Washington State, Best Buy Classic • Williams Arena • noon Saturday • no TV (1500ESPN)

Gophers women not so smooth in exhibition win over Mankato

  • November 5, 2012 - 7:24 AM

The second exhibition for the Gophers women's basketball team didn't go as well as the first, but the end result was another victory over a local Division II program.

Rachel Banham had 20 points and five assists, Micaella Riche added 19 points and 12 rebounds and the Gophers beat Minnesota State Mankato 66-56 on Sunday at Williams Arena, their final tuneup before the regular season begins Saturday.

"I thought we were a very undisciplined group out there, didn't look like a team, that's why I'm not even using the word team," Gophers coach Pam Borton said. "We didn't even look like a team out there. We have a lot of work to do before we open up on Saturday. I just felt like we took a couple of steps backwards from the other day."

Gophers guard Sari Noga did a bit of everything, recording eight points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists.

"It was an ugly win," Noga said. "We got the win, but there's a lot that we have to take in, learn through adversity and move on and get ready for Saturday because it's going to be a lot different and a lot tougher."

The Gophers shot 47.3 percent but struggled to take care of the ball, finishing with 25 turnovers. Just as in their first preseason game, a 76-49 victory over Concordia (St. Paul) on Wednesday, they built a first-half lead Sunday, taking a 41-28 lead into the break. Banham had 14 points and Riche 12 in the first half.

The Gophers extended their lead after halftime to 22 before going without a basket for 7 minutes, 23 seconds, enabling the Mavericks to pull within 64-56 with 1:17 to play. But Minnesota State didn't score again.

Ali Wilkinson scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, and Ashley Olson added 12 points.

The Gophers open the season against Washington State on Saturday as part of the Best Buy Classic at Williams Arena.

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