In a game that seemed hopeful for Northwestern (14-10, 7-6 B1G) as late as the fourth quarter, Minnesota (17-7, 6-7 B1G) won against the ‘Cats a second time by drawing fouls and forcing turnovers the entire game.
Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and Destiny Pitts were key players for the Gophers, scoring the majority of their points. Bell scored 24 points and Pitts added 21. Jordan Hamilton and Abi Scheid yet again were the top scorers for the ‘Cats with Hamilton scoring 20 points and Scheid 18.
The Gophers maintained a steady lead for the first three quarters, ending the first quarter up 22-15. Minnesota was comfortable staying out on the perimeter, making four 3-pointers, but Northwestern depended entirely on their inside game, though they still didn’t shoot a terribly high percentage. The Wildcats also had problems turning the ball over.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats continued to make mistakes. The Gophers scored 17 points off of 13 turnovers, at one point they held a 13-point lead over Northwestern. Bell’s shining moment of the game was when she rebounded her own missed shots twice and subsequently finished in traffic. Pitts was 4/4 on her perimeter shots and continued to lead the Minnesota squad. The Gophers ended the second half up 37-24.
Once the second half began, Northwestern pushed back. Both teams played aggressively and physically, resulting in many trips to the charity stripe. Bell’s third steal marked 200 for her career, challenging the ‘Cats on Sunday just as she has her whole career. However, Northwestern won the quarter 18-13, trimming their deficit to 50-42.
During the final quarter, Bell and Scheid led their respective offenses. The ‘Cats scored 16 points in this quarter, twice as many as the Gophers. Northwestern led 58-54 with 59 seconds left, with Scheid scoring the final point. However, Minnesota caught up immediately as Bell knotted the score at 58-58 with 7 seconds left. Scheid got a foul call with 5 seconds left, but missed both her shots despite her 79% season free throw percentage, and the teams went into overtime.
Once overtime started, Minnesota made the first shot with just below 3:50 left. They subsequently forced a turnover and made another lay-up off a fast break, and Pitts continued to carry the Gophers. She drew four fouls and made 7 of 8 shots from the line. Hamilton scored the first bucket for Northwestern from outside the perimeter with 1:47 left, but their offensive performance didn’t match the Gophers’. The Wildcats lost 73-64.
The Wildcats next play against Penn State (10-13, 1-9 B1G) on Thursday in Welsh-Ryan Arena at 7 p.m.