Gophers rally behind Carlie Wagner in win

Published 8:59 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

Minnesota won its third straight matchup with Illinois, 78-50, during Wednesday’s game at Williams Arena. The Golden Gophers (11-8, 2-4 Big Ten) outrebounded the Fighting Illini (8-11, 3-3 Big Ten) 50-32 and shot 55.6 percent in the second half.

Carlie Wagner followed up her 38-point game at Michigan with 25 against the Illini, adding seven rebounds. She also passed Debbie Hunter for 11th place on the Gophers’ career scoring list, ending the game with 1,376 career points.

Kenisha Bell had 19 points Wednesday night, including 12 in the third quarter, and nine assists. Gadiva Hubbard tallied 15 points, and Joanna Hedstrom led the Gophers with nine rebounds.

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Minnesota began pulling away late in the first quarter and survived an early third quarter Illini run to go up by as much as 31 in the second half. Alex Wittinger led Illinois with 25 points and eight rebounds.

How it happened

Neither team scored for the first two-plus minutes, and the game remained close until the Gophers went on a run to lead 20-10 at the end of the quarter. Hubbard scored eight of her points in the first.

Jessie Edwards, who finished the game with eight rebounds, scored seven of her nine points in the second quarter, and also took a charge. Minnesota led 38-22 at halftime.

The Illini started the second half on a 7-0 run to trim the Gophers’ lead to nine points, 38-29, but Minnesota recovered to take a 55-35 lead into the fourth. Jumpers by Bell and Wagner ended the Minnesota drought, and a Bell layup off a steal brought the lead back to 15 points. Bell had 12 points in the third.

The Gophers made three three-pointers in the fourth as they maintained a sizeable lead.

More notes

• The Gophers’ bench scored 15 points while Illinois only got points from its starting lineup.

• Minnesota’s home record under Marlene Stollings is 34-7 after Wednesday’s win, including a 9-2 mark this season.

• Jasmine Brunson tied her season high with four assists off the bench.

Coming up next

The Gophers will travel to Iowa for a game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Minnesota’s next home game is Jan. 26 against Ohio State.