Banham’s 28 not enough for Gophers

Banham scored 28 but Minnesota blew a 10-point second-half lead.

Minnesota guard Rachel Banham played against Alcorn State on Dec. 12, 2011 at Williams Arena.

Nicola Losik, Daily File Photo

Minnesota guard Rachel Banham played against Alcorn State on Dec. 12, 2011 at Williams Arena.

by Betsy Helfand

Three days after watching PurdueâÄôs Brittany Rayburn  hit 12 three-pointers to tie the NCAA Division I 3-point field goal record, Gophers freshman point guard Rachel Banham put on a three-point clinic of her own âÄîalbeit on a smaller scale âÄî in MinnesotaâÄôs 61-57 loss to Michigan.

Banham set career-highs in points (28) and three-point field goals (6) during SundayâÄôs game at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Banham shot 6-for-10 from 3-point range (9-for-19 overall) and connected on her first six 3-point attempts. She scored 18 of her 28 points in the first half. She also added five rebounds.

Brianna Mastey and Kiara Buford added seven points each in the loss. Mastey also matched her career-high with seven rebounds.

Still, the Gophers (10-9, 2-3 Big Ten) were unsuccessful in overcoming a Wolverines team that went on a 19-4 run in the first half and a 15-3 run in the second half.

âÄúI thought they did a great job switching up their defenses in the second half,âÄù Gophers head coach Pam Borton told the Michigan Daily.

âÄúIt was something we were prepared for, and we knew it was what they were going to do in the second half, and we just didnâÄôt handle it well. I thought it was a lot of unforced turnovers by our guards, and we just didnâÄôt handle the changing of the defenses very well.âÄù

Despite MichiganâÄôs two big runs, the game was relatively close, with numerous lead changes.

The Gophers dominated at the beginning of the second half and held a 10-point lead with 14 minutes left to play before subsequently allowing the 15-3 Michigan run, which put the Wolverines ahead for the first time in the second half with 10 minutes remaining.

Minnesota pulled to within two points with 1:16 left after a Mastey 3-pointer and a free throw by Buford, but it was unable to come any closer and dropped its third Big Ten game of the year.

As a team, Minnesota outshot and out-rebounded Michigan.

In MinnesotaâÄôs first Big Ten game of the season, the Gophers led then-No. 20 Purdue for a majority of the contest before falling 57-53.

Minnesota then routed Indiana 84-43 at Williams Arena and defeated Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., 68-60 to begin the calendar year.

But it lost 72-55 to No. 17 Purdue on Jan. 12 behind RayburnâÄôs 38 points on 12-for-16 3-point shooting.

The Gophers will continue Big Ten play on Jan. 19 when they host Michigan State.