Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Gophers women's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday afternoon, falling to North Carolina 88-83 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Minnesota (7-1) got within 77-74 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left on Kenisha Bell's jumper and within 84-79 on Gadiva Hubbard's layup with 52 seconds left. But the Tar Heels (4-2) made four of six free throws after that to stay ahead.
Hubbard led the Gophers with 25 points, tying a career high. Carlie Wagner had 19 points and Bell 16. Center Jessie Edwards had eight points and 15 rebounds. Freshman forward Destiny Pitts, Minnesota's fifth starter, came in averaging a double-double but had only seven points and four rebounds.
Taylor Koenen, a 6-2 sophomore guard who played for Shakopee High School, led North Carolina with a career-high 21 points. She also had six rebounds, six assists and two blocks. She was 9-for-13 from the field, including 3-for-6 on three-point shots.
Among the other four Tar Heels in double figures was 6-4 freshman center Janelle Bailey with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
North Carolina, which beat Minnesota 91-77 last November in a Bahamas tournament, shot better than the Gophers (50 percent to 41 percent), had more second- chance points (16-10), more points in the paint (38-28) and more bench points (18-8).
Minnesota had more points off turnovers (18-9) and more fast-break points (22-8).
• Bell was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy watch list. The Atlanta Tipoff Club gives the award to the nation's top collegiate player.