Daily File Photo
After some early mishaps and sloppy play, the Minnesota womenâÄôs basketball team settled down and cruised to an easy win to open their regular season.
The Gophers defeated Northern Illinois in the first 79-58 in the first game of the Best Buy Classic Saturday at Williams Arena, and will face the winner of George Washington and Wisconsin-Green Bay for the championship Sunday.
The Gophers had six turnovers and just four points in the first five and a half minutes. But they eventually settled down and fought off a late-half rally by the Huskies to go into the break leading by 12.
The Huskies kept pace with Minnesota for much of the second half, but the Gophers pulled away late thanks to a couple three-pointers from sophomore Leah Cotton and junior Kiara Buford.
Buford led all scorers with 22 points, while sophomore Katie Loberg added 15. Jackie Voigt had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Cotton had 18 of the GophersâÄô 31 bench points, and missed just one shot from the field.