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Kelley, Zahui B. shine in Gophers’ 2OT victory

Amanda Zahui B. had 66 points and 56 rebounds in her last two games.
Gophers center Amanda Zahui B. shoots the ball on Feb. 17 at Williams Arena.
Image by Alex Tuthill-Preus
Gophers center Amanda Zahui B. shoots the ball on Feb. 17 at Williams Arena.

Senior forward Shae Kelley started tearing up on Saturday at a postgame press conference as she talked about her short tenure with Minnesota.

Even before tip-off, there were high emotions surrounding the Gophers’ 91-88 double-overtime senior day victory over Michigan.

Graduating forwards Kelley and Kayla Hirt shared Kodak moments with their entourage during a ceremony before the game.

“I wish I had a little more time with them. Shae is special in that she is our first signee. And Kayla has just been a joy to coach,” head coach Marlene Stollings said.

Hirt only saw two minutes during Saturday’s game, but Kelley played nearly the entire contest and made every minute count.

Kelley played 48 of the 50 minutes during the game, and ended her career at Williams Arena like she started it.

In the Gophers’ home opener, Kelley finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. On Saturday, the senior forward nearly repeated that stat line with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“I didn’t think about, ‘I need to go out there and score [because] it’s my last time.’ I just got in the flow of the game and scored where I could,” Kelley said.

Kelley was one of the Gophers’ most efficient players on offense and defense on Saturday, as she added two blocks and two steals to her stat total.

Minnesota’s most efficient and emotional player during the senior day game was redshirt sophomore Amanda Zahui B.

In the Gophers’ previous game, Zahui B. broke the Big Ten single-game rebounding record with 29.

But Zahui B. missed breaking her own mark, but only by a small amount, on Saturday.

She finished with 27 rebounds and added 27 points.

“I had to be more aggressive and be tougher. I had to grab those boards and create my own space to help my team win the games,” she said.

Zahui B. hardly had to move for a few of her rebounds.

Late in the second overtime, Zahui B. missed three consecutive layups but gathered her rebounds along the way.

“The last time at the basket there, I didn’t know if you were missing on purpose or not,” Stollings jokingly said to Zahui B.

In two games this week, Zahui B. has scored 66 points and grabbed 56 rebounds.

“I think we’ll look back on these things and realize how historic it is. I really think Amanda has the opportunity to really become a global phenom by the time she’s a senior,” Stollings said.

Zahui B. played all 50 minutes of the game, which she said she would feel once her adrenaline wore down.

“This game today emulated who we are and what we are. We’re fighters, we’re resilient, and we’re tough. The longer the game went on, the tougher I feel we got,” Stollings said.

In her emotional final home game, Kelley and the Gophers nabbed their 22nd victory.

“We’re going to have games like this,” Kelley said. “It’s a great test for us, and it makes us stronger and more prepared for tournament time.”

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