Gophers beat Kent State

Minnesota improved to 3-0 Tuesday with an 85-73 win.

Kaitlin Merkel

The Gophers women’s basketball team trailed by two points with just over nine minutes left in the game against Kent State, but the team outscored the Flashes 31-17 in the final quarter to secure a 85-73 victory Tuesday night.

Minnesota (3-0) took a 13-point lead after the first quarter but was outscored 25-13 and 15-12 by Kent State in the second and third quarters, respectively.

The Gophers adjusted prior to the fourth quarter and scored 22 points in the paint after Kent State’s defense focused on limiting three-pointers.

“The whole game we were confident that we were going to win. We just needed to turn it up a little bit,” Gophers junior guard Joanna Hedstrom said. “We read their defense as far as they were coming out on us because we hit some threes in the first half, and so we really focused on driving and getting to the basket.”

Redshirt senior guard Rachel Banham and sophomore guard Carlie Wagner led the offense with 24 points and 18 points, respectively.

Banham made seven of 17 field goals and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone. She now needs 31 points to break Minnesota’s career scoring record.

The Gophers made only seven of 19 three-point attempts, their lowest percentage of the season, but took advantage of a spread-out Kent State defense in the fourth quarter to win.

“We had to find ways to score other than the three-point line. When they started taking threes away, we got kind of frustrated and didn’t know what to do and kind of got into a slump,” Wagner said. “Once we started driving and getting the ball inside and finding people inside, then the game started to pick up for us again.”

Minnesota senior guard Shayne Mullaney recorded a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds while adding three steals.

Hedstrom contributed five rebounds and a career-high 11 points in 31 minutes off the bench for the Gophers.

“[Hedstrom] was absolutely outstanding, a solid force off of the bench,” Stollings said. “She played three different positions and had some really timely rebounds for us and very good defensive stops — things that don’t show up on a stat sheet.”

Minnesota shot 50 percent with its new four-guard lineup, while its defense held the Flashes to a field goal percentage of 35.6.

The Gophers out-rebounded Kent State 48-36, with all five starters recording at least six rebounds.

The team did commit 20 turnovers, which Stollings said needs to change moving forward.

“We threw the ball away a little bit loosely tonight. We’re a lot better than that,” Stollings said. “I just thought we lacked aggressiveness at times, but again, those are things that we’ll continue to work on and improve upon.”