Gophers women rally to edge Badgers in overtime

  • Article by: JASON HADDIX SPECIAL TO THE STAR TRIBUNE
  • Updated: March 7, 2014 - 6:37 AM

The Gophers’ third victory over Wisconsin may have clinched an NCAA tournament at-large bid.

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– When the Gophers needed a big play on Thursday night, it was Rachel Banham who delivered as she has for much of the season.

The 5-9 guard kept her eyes focused to her left as if to pass, then from the right wing hit a three-pointer with 55.6 seconds to play in regulation to send the must-win game against Wisconsin to overtime.

In the extra period, she scored six points, including the final go-ahead basket with a finger-roll layup.

With a 13-7 scoring advantage in overtime, the Gophers earned the 74-68 come-from-behind victory over the Badgers in the opening round of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“I thought we got ourselves down in the first half,” Gophers coach Pam Borton said. “[Wisconsin] did a great job making shots in the first half they normally don’t make.”

This was just the second time in seven years the Gophers won their first game of the tournament.

The first half was troublesome for the Gophers (20-11) who shot 9-for-31 from the field. They turned it around in a big way in the second, shooting 48.5 percent.

“For me, [the shots] were not falling,” Banham said of the early struggles. “I had really good looks. I think I was pressing a little too much.”

She converted just two of her 10 shots in the first half but finished with a game-high 22 points, 15 in the second half and overtime.

The Gophers captain said that she might have been a bit tense, which led to her missing three layups after steals.

Wisconsin (10-19) led by 14 points at halftime after shooting 53 percent from the field, including six of 12 from beyond the arc.

“I think a few of us were hanging our heads [during halftime], and I was down on myself with my shots,” Banham said. “Coach came in and said to stay positive. Once the second half started we were like, ‘We have to fight, we are not losing this, we don’t want to go home.’ ”

Minnesota managed to rally around that message and clawed its way back. Kayla Hirt, who scored 14 points, hit a jumper to start a 12-2 run early in the second half. That five-minute spurt cut the Badgers’ lead to six.

Wisconsin continued to fight to maintain its lead, stretching it out to 10 twice during the final seven minutes of play.

The final run that led to Banham’s shot started with a three-pointer by Sari Noga with 2:43 left in the second half. The Gophers defense tightened and held the Badgers scoreless for the remainder of regulation.

“Rachel had great penetration, and she dished it out to me,” said Noga, who scored all nine of her points after halftime. “Once I had the open look, I had to take it, and just knowing the position we were in, those shots had to go in.”

Amanda Zahui B., the Big Ten’s freshman of the year, had her 15th double-double of the year with 12 points and 19 rebounds.

The Gophers’ late-season run allowed them to reach 20 wins for the first time since their last NCAA tournament appearance in 2009. The latest RPI report has Minnesota No. 38.

  • related content

  • Minnesota's Stabresa McDaniel, left, fights for the ball with Wisconsin's Dakota Whyte, center, and Michala Johnson.

  • Wisconsin’s Dakota Whyte and Gophers guard Sari Noga pursued a loose ball in the first half.

  • Minnesota guard Sari Noga celebrates after hitting a 3-point basket during overtime against Wisconsin in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., Thursday, March 6, 2014. Minnesota defeated Wisconsin 74-68. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Gophers guard Sari Noga celebrated after making a three-point basket during overtime against Wisconsin. Noga had nine points, all on three-pointers.

  • Gophers center Amanda Zahui B. looked for someone to pass to while being guarded by Wisconsin’s Michala Johnson.

  • big ten WOMEN’S tournament gophers 74, wisconsin 68

    Up next: 8 p.m. Friday vs. No. 16 Nebraska • Indianapolis • TV: BTN

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Tennessee 13 4th Qtr 3:06
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
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Tampa Bay
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New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 54 2nd Qtr 1:16
Sacramento 54
Oklahoma City 34 1st Qtr 3:49
Golden State 22
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 1 1st Prd 6:33
Los Angeles 0
Edmonton 1 1st Prd 1:54
San Jose 0
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 1st OT
Evansville 69
CS-Dominguez 17 2nd Half
Cal State Fullerton 30
Walla Walla 18 2nd Half
Idaho 49
DePaul 28 2nd Half
Oregon State 48
Nevada 17 2nd Half
Pacific 35
Portland State 22 2nd Half 18:30
San Francisco 49
CS-Bakersfield 18 2nd Half
Utah State 20
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
Santa Clara 76 1st OT 0:25
Oregon 76

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