Gophers women hold off S. Methodist; Banham hurt

  • Article by: BRYCE EVANS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2014 - 7:44 AM

view larger photos

  

The final score looked tidy enough. The game itself was anything but.

After scoring 46 first-half points and jumping out to a 17-point lead at the break, the Gophers women’s basketball team staved off a comeback from a feisty Southern Methodist team to advance into the round of 16 of the WNIT with a 77-70 victory at Williams Arena on Sunday.

But it had to do it with star guard Rachel Banham on the bench wearing a walking boot for the final 15 minutes, 19 seconds of the game.

Banham went down awkwardly after getting tangled with an SMU player while diving for a loose ball on the offensive end. She was helped off the court and went directly to the locker room with her team up 16. She returned to the bench a few minutes later, but in a boot.

The team called it a “leg injury.”

The remaining Gophers made sure it didn’t signal the end of their season.

“We knew that once Rachel went down, we had to win for her because she does so much for our team,” senior Sari Noga said.

Noga led the way for the Gophers with 22 points, and Amanda Zahui B. had 10 points and 12 rebounds, despite playing only 22 minutes because of foul trouble.

All seven Gophers who played hit at least one field goal, and five scored in double figures for the first time since March 25, 2012.

In the end, it was just enough for the Gophers (22-12) to squeak by before an announced crowd of 587.

“I thought our kids battled and just really pulled it out,” coach Pam Borton said. “We had a great lead, played spectacular in the first half, but when you have your two stars sitting on the bench, I was really proud of our kids for finishing the game.”

Trailing by nine with 1:28 remaining, SMU (18-14) quickly cut the lead to four after back-to-back baskets from Keena Mays.

But the Mustangs missed all three of their field goal attempts in the final minute, and Mikayla Bailey knocked down three of four free throws for Minnesota.

Mays finished with a game-high 34 points and set the SMU school record for points in a season.

Bailey had 11 points, and Kayla Hirt scored 12.

Borton said Banham, who scored 11 points, would be evaluated Sunday evening. She didn’t want to speculate on the first-team All-Big Ten guard status moving forward. Borton did say it was “definitely not a knee” injury; it was likely her foot.

If Banham has her way, she will be on the floor.

“She already told us she’s going to be playing in the next game,” Noga said.

 

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Gophers women 77, SMU 70

    Sunday March 23, 2014

  • Gophers star guard Rachel Banham went down awkwardly after getting tangled with an SMU player while diving for a loose ball.

  • Gophers guard Joanna Hedstrom (22) moved the ball up the sidelines lat...

  • Senior guard Sari Noga led the Gophers with 22 points Sunday. She was one of five Gophers who scored in double figures.

  • gophers women xx, smu xx

    women’s nit second round gophers 77, smu 70

    Up next: 7 p.m. Thursday at South Dakota State

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close