It was, given the opponent, likely the best game in Annalese Lamke’s college basketball career.
In the Gophers’ 74-56 victory over Wisconsin at Williams Arena, in the Big Ten opener for both teams, Lamke was the model of efficiency. She made six of seven shots, eight of 10 free throws, scoring 20 points, one off her career high, while drawing eight fouls.
Lamke is from Galesville, Wis. And if you think it felt good to beat up on your home state team, helping your team to a 12-0 start, consider this: About 100 family and friends were there to see it. Seems her father, Phil Lamke, made sure of that.
“My dad was handing out flyers,’’ Lamke said. “He was handing out flyers at church and, literally, everywhere he went to get people on the bus. He had 100 tickets, and he filled up two charter buses.’’
Attendance was 7,918, the second-largest crowd of the season.
Lamke and Taiye Bello (nine points, 16 rebounds) were part of a dynamic frontcourt that slowed the Badgers duo of Marsha Howard and Imani Lewis.
Throw in another strong defensive effort and the 12th-ranked Gophers (12-0), under first-year coach Lindsay Whalen, are off to a start tied for the best in program history; the 2003-04 team led on-court by Whalen, started 15-0.
And the Gophers did it despite an exceedingly slow start on the offensive end.
The Gophers shot 29.4 percent in the first half, 50 percent in the second, using a 15-4 run at the end of the third quarter to put the game away. But Minnesota’s defense was a constant, holding the Badgers (9-4) to 35 percent shooting and forcing 20 Wisconsin turnovers.
Senior Kenisha Bell struggled with her shot, going 7-for-26. But she scored 17 points, had 10 rebounds and five assists. Destiny Pitts scored 13.
Wisconsin was led by Suzanne Gilreath’s nine points.
As for Lamke, the senior played sparingly until this season. Last season she appeared in 17 games but scored just 18 points. She bested that total in 2018-19 opener, scoring 21 against New Hampshire. But this latest performance came in the Big Ten.
“She’s the first one in the gym every day, working on her game,’’ Whalen said. “She’s been the ultimate teammate through the years, waiting for her chance on the floor. Always positive, always cheering. I was able to see that as a fan last year. It’s great to see her having the impact she has on the team on a daily basis.’’
The Gophers led by 10 midway through the third quarter when they broke the game open.
Reserve forward Palma Kaposi scored six points and guard Mercedes Staples, another backup, hit a three-pointer in a 15-4 run to end the quarter. That put the Gophers up 21 entering the fourth quarter.
The good news is the Gophers remain unbeaten, and there is still so much room for improvement. They won Friday despite Bell’s shot being off and the Gophers making just four three-pointers while beating the Badgers for the 12th straight time.
All in all, a good night for a Wisconsin native wearing maroon and gold.
“I know I’m the head coach at Wisconsin,’’ Jonathan Tsipis said. “But we want our kids in Wisconsin high school basketball to see role models like that.’’
Friday about 100 people from Lamke’s hometown got to see it in person.
“It was really exciting,’’ she said. “Because this was the first time a lot of them got to see me play. So I was just really happy to be able to do it for my family.’’