Minnesota loses two in overtime

Rachel Banham was hot, but she couldn’t lead her team to victory.

Minnesota center Amanda Zahui B. shoots against North Dakota on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013 at Williams Arena.

Daily File Photo, Lisa Persson

Minnesota center Amanda Zahui B. shoots against North Dakota on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013 at Williams Arena.

by Jack Satzinger

Gophers head coach Pam Borton has said the Gophers’ first stretch of Big Ten play is against some of the toughest teams in the conference.

Her words rang true Sunday afternoon as the Gophers fell on the road in overtime for the second straight game.

Minnesota (12-7, 1-4 Big Ten) lost 83-78 at Indiana (15-3, 2-3 Big Ten).

The Hoosiers out rebounded the Gophers 48-37 and outscored Minnesota 36-12 from 3-point range.

Minnesota still forced the game into an extra period, largely due to the efforts of Rachel Banham and Amanda Zahui B.

Banham led the way with 29 points and seven assists — one assist shy of her career-high.

Zahui B. tallied 25 points of her own, making more than 90 percent of her shots from the field.

The Gophers didn’t have as much luck shooting in the overtime session, sinking just 20 percent of their shots.

Indiana hit two crucial 3-pointers down the stretch that helped ice the game.

Minnesota’s Jan. 16 contest at No. 18 Nebraska ended similarly, despite 33 points from Banham.

“We stay positive with our team. It was a heck of an effort,” Borton told reporters after the game. “I felt like down the stretch, we’ve got to be able to play lockdown defense.”

Borton praised senior Sari Noga, who made four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

But Noga’s largest contribution came on the defensive end, up against All-American forward Jordan Hooper.

Hooper averages nearly 20 points per game and managed to score 18 against Minnesota.

But Hooper was inefficient when guarded by Noga, going 7-for-24 from the field.

“I thought Sari [Noga] did a great job for the most part on her,” Borton told reporters after the game.

In brief

Hooper and Banham were recently named to the Wooden Award Top 20 list. The honor is given annually to the nation’s best player.

A third and final Big Ten player on the list is Penn State’s Maggie Lucas. Lucas leads the nation in free-throw percentage with a 97 percent clip.