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Women’s basketball defeats Harvard with ease

Kiara Buford dominated the Crimson with a 25-point game.

Minnesota defeated Harvard 79-53 behind an impressive performance from senior guard Kiara Buford. 

Buford drove to the rim at will and shot the lights out from outside for 25 points. She hit 11-of-14 shots including three three-pointers. 

âÄúWeâÄôve been shooting a lot more the last couple weeks.  I think that itâÄôs starting to kick in,âÄù Buford said. âÄúIâÄôm more consistent and more confident in my shot.âÄù

The 25 points were two shy of her career high 27. Buford couldnâÄôt be stopped all afternoon.  She added six assists, three blocks and two steals.

The Gophers improved their shooting to 53 percent in the game.

âÄúWe havenâÄôt shot the ball real well all year, but weâÄôve been on the road a lot,âÄù head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúWeâÄôve got three or four people on our team that are as good of shooters that weâÄôve had in our program in a long time and it was just a matter of time before they start making shots.âÄù

Harvard hung close most of the game, and even took a brief lead midway through the first half.  It was able to stay close due to the rebounding edge of 44-33.

MinnesotaâÄôs Katie Loberg is taller than any player on the Crimson roster, and she was able to exploit that for points down low.  She finished with 16 points and five rebounds. She had an open floor after a steal and looked like she was tempted to go for the slam dunk. Loberg said she didnâÄôt think about it until after the play.

The Gophers pulled away late in the second half and cruised to the victory in the final minutes. 

Point guard Rachel Banham began to contribute late in the game. Banham was not the focal point of the offense for the first time this season.  She only took ten shots from the floor, contributing 13 points.

Leah Cotton was inserted into the starting lineup earlier this week and had a good game against Air Force, but she regressed this weekend.  She appeared anxious with the basketball, putting up quick shots when she got her hands on the ball.  She finished the day shooting 1-for-10 for six points.

Minnesota switched in and out of a two-three zone defense with little effect.  Harvard was able to stay close no matter the defensive scheme Borton put into place.

The Gophers held on to the ball better than they have all year.  They only turned the ball over six times in the game.

âÄúWe had great ball control and I thought we made great decisions,âÄù Borton said. âÄú[It was] nice to see that number at 17 assists and six turnovers. It gives you more possessions in the game.âÄù

Minnesota will take on Alcorn State on Sunday at Williams Arena to wrap up the Best Buy Classic at 2:00 p.m.

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