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ILLINOIS 76, GOPHERS WOMEN 66 Up next: 2 p.m. Sunday vs. Northwestern • No TV (88.5-FM)

Gophers women falter late in loss

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • February 11, 2013 - 8:02 AM

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. - Junior Amber Moore scored Illinois' last nine points and the Illini finished on a 16-6 run to secure a 76-66 victory over the Gophers in front of 2,703 fans at the Assembly Hall on Sunday.

Moore finished with a game-high 25 points, Karisma Penn added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Adrienne Godbold posted 20 and 10, respectively, for Illinois (14-9, 7-4 Big Ten).

Big Ten scoring leader Rachel Banham led Minnesota with 17 points but was just 4-of-14 from the field. She added six assists and two steals, while Micaëlla Riché and Leah Cotton scored 12 points apiece for Minnesota (15-10, 4-7).

"We're a really good basketball team when we play with joy, we have smiles on our faces and we're excited about our teammates," Illinois coach Matt Bollant said. "I thought we did that at the start of the game and down the stretch, which is really pivotal."

The Illini's 7-4 Big Ten record moved it into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings and is its best mark at this point of the Big Ten season since 2000-01.

"Obviously, Amber, Adrienne and Karisma were all really fantastic," Bollant said. "They made plays when they had to. Leadership is the ability to make plays when you have to, and all three of them led really well, especially late in the game. And I thought Alexis [Smith] did a great job at the point. She got us into our offense and had a poise about her that was important."

Illinois led 32-27 at half and maintained that lead through much of the second half. But Minnesota used an 8-3 spurt to tie the score at 58 with 5:54 remaining. The teams traded baskets before Illinois went on a 7-0 run as Minnesota missed six consecutive shots, putting the Illini up 67-60. The Gophers drew within 67-63, but Moore hit a three-pointer with 1:27 left, then made six free throws in a row in the final minute to put the game away.

Moore finished the day 5-of-12 from three-point range and made all eight of her free throws while also grabbing seven rebounds. Penn made 8-of-13 field-goal attempts and blocked three shots while posting her 11th double-double of the season in a 40-minute effort. GodBold was 9-of-15 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line in her fourth double-double this season, adding three assists and two steals. Smith also controlled the flow of the game well, dishing out nine assists with only one turnover.

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