Gophers best rivals on Wednesday

Referees called a total of 35 fouls in the 93-82 Minnesota victory.

Matt Greenstein

Despite the love-struck fan with the “Zahui B. mine” sign hoping for a valentine, there was no lost love between Minnesota and Wisconsin as the Gophers won 93-82.

In the first half, referees whistled 15 fouls — 11 against Wisconsin — and head coach Marlene Stollings said the team tried to exploit Wisconsin’s slow defensive rotations.

“We thought that their secondary defense was often late, and therefore, they foul because of it. It was a point of emphasis for us,” Stollings said.

During the first half, Minnesota committed only four fouls, none of which sent Wisconsin to the free-throw line.

The Gophers’ most aggressive player, senior forward Shae Kelley, continued to assert herself offensively.

She finished the game with 33 points, 13 of which came from the charity stripe.

Leading up to Wednesday’s game, Kelley struggled with free throws, only shooting 61.3 percent.

But in Wednesday’s victory, Kelley only missed one free throw, which she jokingly attributed to one small adjustment.

“I moved my foot to the right,” Kelley said.

Earlier this season, Stollings said the team goal is to shoot 20 times from the free throw line per game.

Minnesota went to the line 25 times Wednesday, connecting on 22 shots.

Badgers junior guard Nicole Bauman finished the first half with 11 points, but she spent a large part of the half on the bench after picking up two fouls.

She only played 27 minutes in the game, and Gophers junior guard Shayne Mullaney said she continued to be aggressive once Bauman picked up her second foul.

“My mindset the entire game was to push the ball up the floor,” Mullaney said.

The Badgers guard wasn’t the only one in foul trouble for the team.

Badgers redshirt sophomore center Cassie Rochel, a Minnesota native, also spent a large portion of the game on the bench after she picked up her third foul with 15:38 left in the second half.

With the 6-foot-4-inch center out for most of the game, Gophers redshirt sophomore center Amanda Zahui B. thrived.

Zahui B. was limited in the first half but picked it up in the second half and finished with 21 points.

She had to play a cautiously herself, as she played the last 4:37 of the game with four fouls.

Referees called 35 fouls total, but Stollings said it was the team’s strategy all along.

“We took advantage of the opportunities. We wanted to get to the free throw line 20-plus times tonight,” Stollings said. “It was something we scouted against them and credit to our young ladies for getting there.”