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Gophers women’s basketball picks up 71-60 win over Michigan State

Minnesota was able to finally find success in the paint, resulting in a much-needed victory over the Spartans.
Image by Ethan Fine
Minnesota guard Alexia Smith dribbles the ball through her leg in a game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Gophers won that game 57-55.

After struggling in the paint for much of the season, the Gophers out-scored Michigan State 30-20 in paint points and out-rebounded it 39-36 resulting in a 71-60 victory.

After coming up short against Michigan State 74-71 only 14 days ago on the road, the Golden Gophers had a chance for revenge Sunday, but this time on their home floor.

Minnesota continues to fiddle with its starting lineup, this time giving graduate student Laura Bagwell-Katalinich her first start of the season, alongside Sara Scalia, Deja Winters, Gadiva Hubbard and Alanna Micheaux.

Scalia started the game on fire for the Gophers, but she didn’t have much help. The junior guard scored 11 of the team’s 14 points in the first quarter and Michigan State led 17-14 after 10 minutes.

The second quarter was a game of runs. Minnesota jumped out to a 31-24 lead, but the Spartans responded with an 8-5 run to close the first half and the Gophers led 36-32.

Sophomore guard Alexia Smith recorded a game-high 10 points in the second quarter, and the Gophers’ 10-2 difference in fastbreak points were the difference in the first half.

The Gophers played continued to play some great offensive basketball into the third quarter. Freshman post player Alanna Micheaux led the way with seven points, while Gadiva Hubard added five more.

A 14-6 difference in points scored in the paint helped the Gophers extend their lead to 59-50 heading into the final quarter of play.

Minnesota struggled in the fourth quarter, shooting three of 13 from the field as a team. Sometimes you just need to be better than the other team, and the Gophers were out-scoring the Spartans 12-10 in the final quarter.

Sara Scalia led the way with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Gophers, while Alexia Smith (13) and Deja Winters (10) were the only other two players to score in double figures.

Six points and seven rebounds off the bench from veteran post player Bailey Helgren and four points and five rebounds from Bagwell-Katalinich went a long way in earning the victory. Their presence down low for 21 minutes was instrumental in the Gophers finding success in the paint, which ultimately led to a 71-60 win

Next for Minnesota will be another rematch against No. 21 Iowa on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in Iowa City, Iowa.

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