Bello nets career high in loss at Penn

Published 9:32 am Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Golden Gophers got off to a hot start but cooled down shooting in the second half as they fell 77-66 at Penn State. Minnesota (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten) and the Lady Lions (16-8, 6-6 Big Ten) played an even first half after Penn State responded to the Gophers’ early 10-point lead.

Freshman Taiye Bello led the Gophers with a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds. She shot 9-of-13 from the floor. Kenisha Bell also had 19 points and six assists, and Whitney Tinjum matched Bello’s rebounding total.

The Gophers turned the ball over a season-low eight times and turned Penn State’s 10 turnovers into 18 points. But Minnesota shot 35.6 to the Lady Lions’ 43.5. After shooting 47.2 percent in the first half, the Gophers made just 26.3 percent of their attempts in the second half. Penn State outrebounded the Gophers 47-43.

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Teniya Page led Penn State with 25 points. Lindsey Spann and Sierra Moore added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

How it happened

Minnesota jumped out to an 8-0 lead by the 7:32 mark. Bello scored Minnesota’s first four points, and Jasmine Brunson and Carlie Wagner added jumpers. After 3-pointers by Bell and Tinjum, the Gophers led 14-4. Penn State went on a 12-2 run to tie it before Bell drove and scored to give Minnesota an 18-16 lead at the end of the first. Eight of the Gophers’ first quarter points came off turnovers.

Bello continued to provide scoring for the Gophers, with six straight points during the second. Joanna Hedstrom and Gadiva Hubbard made 3-pointers. Lindsey Spann hit two triples, including one that tied the first half at 39 at the buzzer.

The Gophers’ shooting went cold in the third. Penn State went on a 9-0 run to go up 53-45 with under three minutes to go in the quarter. Bell snapped the streak with a corner 3-pointer, and added a free throw and a runner to bring the Gophers within two at 53-51. The Lady Lions tacked on three points at the free throw line to lead 56-51 going to the fourth.

Penn State pulled ahead 60-51, its largest lead yet, in the first two minutes of the quarter. The Gophers would not get closer than seven points, as Page and Moore led the Lady Lions.

More notes

• The Gophers have lowered their turnover rate significantly since tallying 22 turnovers at Michigan. They have averaged only 11.5 turnovers over their past six games.

• Before Wednesday night’s game, Bello last scored in double figures in her debut. She has made three consecutive starts, averaging 10.3 points per game during that time.

Coming up next

The Gophers will have two straight home games, starting with a Saturday matchup against Rutgers. The 2 p.m. game will feature recognition of program alumnae. At the Monday game against Northwestern (rescheduled from January), the first 1,000 fans will receive free gold T-shirts.