Gophers split Puerto Rico series

Senior Rachel Banham also broke the team’s scoring record on Saturday.

Rachel Banham shoots from the perimeter at Williams Arena on Nov. 20, 2015.

Image by Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Rachel Banham shoots from the perimeter at Williams Arena on Nov. 20, 2015.

by Kaitlin Merkel

Redshirt senior guard Rachel Banham broke Minnesota’s career scoring record Saturday as the Gophers lost to Auburn University 81-79 in overtime in their second game of the San Juan Shootout. Minnesota defeated Stetson 72-69 on Friday in its first game.
Banham scored 20 points Friday and added 29 more on Saturday to break Lindsay Whalen’s career record of 2,285 points. Banham now has 2,304 after the weekend.
“It feels really good. It was obviously hard getting it in a tough loss, but no matter what, I’m really happy about it, and it’s exciting,” Banham said.
Minnesota (4-1) was also led to Friday’s victory by senior guard Mikayla Bailey and sophomore guard Carlie Wagner, who added 22 points and 20 points, respectively.
It was the first game since Feb. 21 in which three players scored at least 20 points for Minnesota.
“We have a number of players … that can score and that can score in high volumes,” Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings said. “Our team is so unselfish, so any night it can be a new face [scoring].”
Wagner also led the team in rebounding with nine, while Bailey recorded three steals.
The Gophers took a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter but were outscored in both the second and third quarters to enter the fourth down 56-54.
Minnesota took their final lead with 3:32 left in the game to secure the victory, despite shooting just 37.8 percent on field goals in the game.
On Saturday, the Gophers entered the fourth quarter trailing again, this time by 13 points.
Minnesota outscored the Tigers 24-11 in the final quarter to tie the game at 71 and force overtime.
Auburn eventually outscored the Gophers 10-8 in overtime to secure the win.
“We had to comeback from a 15 point deficit, and [we] dominated the fourth quarter. And then it was a one possession game there in overtime, so it could’ve gone either way,” Stollings said.
Minnesota shot 50.8 percent in Saturday’s game while Auburn’s field goal percentage was 42.3. 
Junior center Karley Barnes scored 19 points and recorded six rebounds in her first start for Minnesota after she tore her ACL.
“I was kind of overwhelmed. I was nervous a little bit, but they trusted me to go out there,” Barnes said. “I just tried to play [and do] whatever I could to stay poised.”
Stollings said Barnes will continue to see more playing time as she moves forward with her recovery.
“She performed outstanding tonight, and [it’s] just a glimpse of what we’re going to see big picture here as she continues to get comfortable coming back from her injury,” Stollings said.
Despite the higher field goal percentage, the Gophers recorded 20 turnovers in the game to the Tigers’ nine.
“They continued to press us the whole game, but I think a lot of it was on us,” Banham said. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers, [and] we had some uncharacteristic mistakes. … We were beating ourselves on those ones and throwing the ball out of bounds.”