Edwards scored 29 points in Gophers win
Jessie Edwards scored a career-high 29 points, including important baskets down the stretch, as the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team beat Belmont 75-74 in Minneapolis. The Gophers (8-4) notched their third victory against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams in the non-conference season, according to a press release.
Edwards scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including a 5-for-5 performance at the free throw line late in the game. Her last two free throws put the Gophers up three with seven seconds to go. Belmont’s 3-point attempt missed, and the Bruins (6-5) settled for a put-back.
Edwards shot 11-of-15 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line on the game. Her previous career was 22 points. Carlie Wagner and Kenisha Bell each scored 16 points, and Joanna Hedstrom pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds.
Darby Maggard led the Bruins with 23 points, including seven of their 12 3-pointers. Sally McCabe and Kylee Smith each had nine of Belmont’s 44 rebounds. The Gophers had 40 rebounds but out-shot the Bruins 46.2 percent to 36.8 percent. Led by Edwards, Minnesota held a 44-30 advantage in inside scoring. Here’s how it happened:
Minnesota scored the first seven points of the game, with a 3-pointer from Hubbard and two layups from Wagner. Wagner scored seven of the Gophers’ points in a row after Hubbard’s opening triple. Minnesota led 20-6 after an Edwards three-point play, but Belmont trimmed it to 20-13 at the end of the period.
Aided by four 3-pointers, the Bruins continued their run in the second quarter. They took a 30-29 lead with 2:15 left before halftime. The teams traded the lead toward the end of the half, and Belmont carried a 37-35 advantage into the break. Wagner’s 12 points and Edwards’ 11 led the Gophers in the first half.
Whitney Tinjum provided a spark with five straight points to give Minnesota the lead back, 45-44 with 5:43 to go. The Gophers led 54-48 heading into the fourth.
The Bruins tied the game at 64 with two-plus minutes left, then took a lead on free throws. Edwards made two free throws of her own to tied it at 66. The Gophers got a stop and then Edwards scored with 1:32 left. She added a three-point play after a Belmont turnover to make it 71-66. Following a Bruins 3-pointer, Kenisha Bell banked in a shot with 17 seconds remaining. Belmont was not done yet, as Maggard made a 3-pointer to cut the Gophers’ lead to 73-72 with 11 seconds left.
Belmont fouled after Maggard’s triple, and Edwards drained a pair of free throws at the 7.7-second mark. The Bruins’ 3-point attempt missed and Lauren Thompson made a put-back with 0.4 seconds left. The Gophers advanced the ball on a timeout the clock ran out as they inbounded it.
Minnesota is 31-6 at Williams Arena under head coach Marlene Stollings, including a 6-1 record at home this season.
Edwards has scored in double figures three times this season. Her previous season high was 15 points.
Hedstrom has recorded nine or more rebounds in three of the last five games.
Bell led the Gophers in steals for the eighth time this season, with three takeaways.