Preview: The Gophers (9-4) are No. 15 in the latest RPI but haven’t beaten a top-25 team yet. This is their chance — Ohio State (10-4) is No. 14. Minnesota beat the then-No. 5 Buckeyes 90-88 in overtime last February at Williams Arena on Carlie Wagner’s last-second jumper.
Players to watch: Wagner, a junior guard, is averaging a team-high 18.6 points and also leads the team with 36 three-pointers. Backcourt partner Kenisha Bell is first in both assists (5.5 per game) and steals (2.4). Bryanna Fernstrom, 6-5 center, is eligible starting this game. The junior transferred from Iowa State midway through the 2015-16 season. Ohio State junior Kelsey Mitchell, the fastest player in NCAA history to 2,000 points, is averaging a Big Ten-best 22.4 points per game and needs two three-pointers for 300 in her career. Stephanie Mavunga, a 6-3 forward, averages 13.3 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Numbers: Ohio State is 25-3 vs. the Gophers in Columbus, but Minnesota has won the past two meetings in 2013 and 2015. Both teams have lost to No. 6 South Carolina, the Gophers 98-58 in Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 11, the Buckeyes 92-80 in Columbus on Nov. 14.