Gophers women gameday

NOON AT NO. 25 MICHIGAN STATE • BRESLIN CENTER • BIG TEN NETWORK, 1500-AM

Thursday’s 14-point loss at Indiana ended a four-game winning streak for the Gophers (18-8, 10-5 Big Ten), placing added importance on their final three regular-season games as they try to position themselves for an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament.

 

Date Opponent (record) This season Note

Today at No. 25 Michigan State (19-7, 10-5) First meeting The Gophers haven’t won in East Lansing since the 2008-09 season.

Wednesday (7 p.m., no TV) vs. No. 5 Ohio State (19-7, 10-5) First meeting Rachel Banham’s final home game. Gophers are 15-53 all-time vs. OSU.

Next Sunday (4 p.m., ESPN2) at No. 6 Maryland (24-3, 13-2) First meeting The Gophers have lost their only three meetings with the Terrapins.

 

About the Gophers: The Gophers’ RPI ranking dropped four spots to 79 after their loss to Indiana. Senior G Rachel Banham has scored 156 points in her past four games and remains the Big Ten’s top scorer with 26.5 points per game. Sophomore G Carlie Wagner is tied for eighth with 19.1 points per game, and senior G Shayne Mullaney continues to be effective off the bench, scoring 10.4 per game. The Gophers rank third in the Big Ten in scoring offense (82.8 points per game), and despite their lack of size, they are second in the league in rebounding (43.5 per game). Over their past nine games against Michigan State, the Gophers are 2-7, and they have lost four in a row at Breslin Center.

About Michigan State: The Spartans started the Big Ten season 9-2, but they have lost three of their past five games. They ended a two-game losing streak Thursday with a 70-67 victory at Rutgers. Junior F Aerial Powers, the Big Ten’s No. 4 scorer with 20.9 points per game, is 27 points away from moving into fourth place on the Spartans’ career scoring list; she has scored 1,622 points. Powers also is averaging 8.8 rebounds and has scored 25 or more points in five of her past seven games. The Spartans have the third-best scoring defense in the Big Ten, at 62.2 points, and top the league in free-throw percentage (77 percent). Michigan State is 11-2 at home this season.

RACHEL BLOUNT