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Gophers dominate Illinois 87-54 on Senior Night

Five different Minnesota players scored in double figures Thursday, in a dominant offensive performance.
Image by Ethan Fine
Laura Bagwell-Katalinich celebrates in a game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Jan. 30, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Gophers beat the Badgers 57-55 to snap a four-game losing streak.

Senior guard Gadiva Hubbard led Gophers with 22 points in her final game at Williams Arena, en-route to an 87-54 victory.

In the season’s final home game at Williams Arena, the Gophers honored five seniors. Gadiva Hubbard, Deja Winters, Laura Bagwell-Kalatinich, Bailey Helgren and Kayla Mershon were honored on Thursday’s senior night.

Head coach Lindsay Whalen opted to start four of the five seniors with Sara Scalia resuming her typical role and Mershon remained on the bench. Minnesota looked to get back into the win column against 6-17 Illinois.

After falling down 3-2, the Gophers proceeded to go on a 13-0 run, quickly taking a firm hold of the game. Scalia led the way with nine points and Minnesota led 20-7 after 10 minutes of play.

It was a balanced attack in quarter number two for the Maroon & Gold. Four different players scored four or more points, extending their lead to 40-23 heading into halftime.

The Gophers’ first half defense was stifling, holding Illinois to only eight made field goals, but they were also sucsesfull in the paint, outshooting the Fighting Illini 18-8 in that area and outrebounding them 26-19.

Minnesota’s offense looked like it was going to cool off considerably in the third quarter, but Illinois was not able to take advantage. Six points from Deja Winters helped extend her team’s lead to 61-41.

Holding a big lead, the Gophers did not coast in the fourth quarter, they made a statement, outsourcing Illinois 26-13 in the final 10 minutes, completing an 87-54 victory.

In her final career game at Williams Arena, senior guard Gadiva Hubbard sank four threes in the final quarter bringing her game-total to a game-high 22 points.

Scalia, Bagwell-Katalinich, Winters and Kadi Sissoko all joined Hubbard in double figures, making for a dominant offensive performance.

Minnesota will wrap up its regular season campaign this Sunday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. against Penn State on the road, with the Big Ten Tournament looming on the horizon.

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