The Gophers women’s basketball team was in attack mode in its 83-77 victory over Michigan State on Sunday at Williams Arena.
Making just four three-pointers on 14 attempts, the Gophers (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten) went to work establishing an inside game. They outscored the Spartans (12-5, 2-2) in the paint 40-30 and had 18 second-chance points to Michigan State’s nine.
Post player Bryanna Fernstrom, making just her second start of the season, had 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds as the Gophers broke a two-game losing streak. Fernstrom entered the game averaging 3.5 points per game.
Kenisha Bell slashed her way to a game-high 22 points. Her lefthanded layup with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Gophers an 82-77 lead before an announced crowd of 3,422.
Bell also had seven rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
The Gophers led the entire second half and were ahead by as many as 10 points. The differential could have been larger, but they shot only 59 percent from the free-throw line on 32 attempts. They helped make up for that with 29 points off 23 Spartans turnovers.
Both teams had multiple players in foul trouble and used their benches freely.
Taiye Bello and Jessie Edwards combined for 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting for the Gophers.
Spartans reserve Nia Hollie, a Minneapolis native who played at Hopkins High School, scored a career-high 14 points, 10 above her season average.
Four of five starters also scored in double figures for Michigan State, but senior guard Branndais Agee picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter and went scoreless in 11 minutes. Agee had been averaging 11.0 points a game, and she had a career-high 30 against the Gophers last season.
The Gophers, 8-1 at home, had lost three straight and six of seven to the Spartans, who were coming off a 30-point victory against Northwestern.