Minutes before tip-off Thursday, Gophers sophomore guard Rachel Banham was honored for scoring her 1,000th point in a loss to Illinois on Monday.
Banham scored 32 points, Micaella Riche added 15 and Minnesota beat Michigan 82-67 to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Gophers offense, led by Banham, looked as efficient and as fluid as it has all season. Minnesota (14-8, 3-5 Big Ten) shot 59 percent from the floor and turned the ball over four times.
“I thought we moved the ball extremely well, penetrated the gaps in the zone and we knocked shots down,” Gophers head coach Pam Borton said.
It all started with Banham, who ran the offense to perfection. She shot 11-for-15 from the floor, knocked down six three-pointers, and found open teammates when she wasn’t scoring.
Minnesota guard Sari Noga said effective ball movement made the offense successful.
“We were able to find the open person, which was a big part of the win for us tonight,” she said.
The Gophers, who have had problems starting and finishing games this season, started strong and put the pedal to the metal in the second half.
After leading by four at halftime, Minnesota tightened up defensively, forced turnovers and led by as many as 18 in the second half.
“We can’t waste any more games,” Banham said. “We really needed this win and now we have to roll with it.”