DURHAM, N.C. – The Gophers put up 25 three-points shots against No. 14 Duke but few fell, and the result was predictable.
The Blue Devils, led by 6-6 sophomore center Azura Stevens, defeated the Gophers 84-64 in women’s basketball in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Stevens had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Duke (7-1) took a 10-2 led at the start and never trailed.
“We got it under 10 a couple of times but couldn’t get it over the hump,” Gophers coach Marlene Stollings said in a postgame radio interview.
Carlie Wagner led the Gophers with 23 points — two shy of her career high — while Rachel Banham had 21 points but was just 1-for-10 on three-point attempts.
“We got great looks at the basket, we just couldn’t knock down our shots,” Stollings said.
Minnesota shot 40.3 percent overall but was a dismal 5-for-25 on threes (20 percent), missing its first 10 attempts. This was the same team that made a school-record 16 in its season opener.
Shayne Mullaney finally made a shot from behind the arc with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second quarter, and Wagner followed with a steal and layup to cut Duke’s lead to 38-30, prompting the Blue Devils to call a timeout.
The Gophers (4-2) got within six, 42-36, early in the third on Mikayla Bailey’s three, but Duke responded with a 6-0 run.
Despite the Gophers not shooting well, Stollings said of more concern was rebounding. Duke outrebounded Minnesota 44-30. Banham, a guard playing forward at times, led the team with seven rebounds. Nobody else had more than five.
Banham, who became the program’s all-time leading career scorer in Minnesota’s previous game, is moving up on the Big Ten career scoring list, too. Her ninth point against Duke put her in sixth place.
Stollings said she hopes her team, now 4-5 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, can get to where Duke is.
“Duke is a very talented team,” Stollings said. “… This was a good early test to see where we were.”
Besides Stevens, Rebecca Greenwell had 17 points, Oderah Chidom 13 and Angela Salvadores 11 for the Blue Devils, who shot 50 percent overall and were 8-for-18 on threes.
This was only the second meeting between these teams. The Gophers beat the No. 1-seeded Blue Devils 82-75 in Norfolk, Va., in the 2004 Mideast Regional final.