Carter Jones, Daily File Photo
The Gophers beat Nebraska in Overtime Saturday for their first Big Ten road win of the season.
Kenisha Bell found Joanna Hedstrom outside the 3-point arc to extend a Gophers lead to eight with 1:08 left in overtime.
The guard’s basket put the game nearly out of reach as Minnesota went on to beat Nebraska 79-69.
“It felt good to personally be able to contribute in overtime,” Hedstrom said. “I just focused on being ready to shoot whenever I got the ball.”
She said maintaining her confidence allowed her to keep shooting after a few misses earlier in the game. Hedstrom scored five points in overtime.
The Gophers made multiple defensive stops which led them to outscore the Huskers 13-3 in overtime.
“As a team, we stepped on them early right at the start of overtime,” Hedstrom said. “It was huge kind of putting the game away right away.”
Head coach Marlene Stollings said their defensive intensity in overtime allowed them to get out in transition to score some easy points.
Minnesota’s win Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak. The Gophers didn’t let Nebraska (5-18, 1-10 Big Ten) go on multiple, big scoring runs.
“It’s getting down to that point in the season where wins are crucial,” said Carlie Wagner. “It’s huge for us to play 40 plus minutes like that and not take any possession lightly.”
Wagner led the team with 28 points, including crucial baskets late in regulation. Wagner became Minnesota’s ninth-best on its all-time career scoring list with 1,472 points
“I just got really confident in the second half,” Wagner said. Focusing on her strengths is how she approached the game.
Her eight rebounds were just as important as her scoring.
Five Minnesota (12-11, 3-7 Big Ten) players grabbed seven or more rebounds, contributing to 46 rebounds total for the team.
The Gophers managed only 35 rebounds in their previous game against Michigan State.
Offensive boards gave Minnesota the advantage early. The Gophers had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half — 17 total in the game — which gave them second chances to score and extended possessions.
“We really focused in on [offensive rebounds] in our prep for this game,” Stollings said. “It was a big key coming in.”
Minnesota’s offensive rebounds contributed to its dominant inside scoring. The Gophers outscored the Huskers 42-22 in points in the paint.
Minnesota forced Nebraska to take more shots from outside. Double and sometimes triple teams on Nebraska’s forward Jessica Shepard made scoring inside difficult.
The environment was loud, but Minnesota handled it well.
“It was good for us to experience a close game like that,” Hedstrom said. “It felt good to actually come out with the win and fight as a team.”