Gophers suffer first loss at UNC

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Gopher women’s basketball team rallied in the second half to close a double-digit gap, but suffered its first loss of the season, 88-83, at North Carolina. Minnesota (7-1) got 25 points from Gadiva Hubbard, 19 from Carlie Wagner and 16 from Kenisha Bell in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge loss to the Tar Heels (4-2). Wagner and Hubbard combined for 30 points in the second half. Jessie Edwards pulled down 15 rebounds.

Minnesota made eight of its 11 3-pointers in the second half, scored 22 fastbreak points and outrebounded North Carolina by one, 40-39. But the Tar Heels shot 50 percent to the Gophers’ 41 percent and had a 10-point advantage in the paint with 38 points coming inside.

Taylor Koenen scored a team-high 21 points for UNC. Janelle Bailey had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

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How it happened

The fast-paced opening quarter featured three ties and 10 lead changes. Hubbard scored seven of the Gophers’ first 12 points, including a 3-pointer that put them ahead 12-7 at the 7:02 mark. She and Bell each had nine points in the first. Bell’s included four free throws and a fast break layup off a Wagner steal and a give-and-go play with Hubbard.

The Tar Heels ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to lead 31-26.

North Carolina scored the first four points of the second, but scoring slowed down for both teams. With Bell and Hubbard in foul trouble, Jasmine Brunson and Paloma Gonzalez provided a spark off the bench. Brunson had three steals and eight points in the quarter. Gonzalez assisted two of Brunson’s baskets. The Tar Heels led by as much as 12 points. Minnesota got within six twice, and trailed 44-36 at halftime.

The Gophers fell behind by 11 before closing the gap. In a span of 1:05, Hubbard made two 3-pointers with a Wagner triple between them. Minnesota trailed just 58-54 at the 3:14 mark going into a media timeout. Wagner had 14 points in the quarter, and Minnesota cut the lead to two on two occasions.

With the aid of three 3-pointers, Minnesota kept the game close for most of the fourth. They got to a 77-74 deficit after an acrobatic shot under the hoop by Bell. North Carolina went on a run to go back up 10 after that, and held off the Gophers.

More notes

Hubbard’s 25 points equaled her season high set against Wake Forest last week.

Edwards has 28 rebounds in Minnesota’s last two games.

Edwards had two blocks, and with 91 in her career, is now two behind Katie Loberg for seventh on the Gophers’ all-time list.

Up next

Minnesota returns to Williams Arena for a Sunday, Dec. 3 game against Eastern Michigan. Love Your Melon packages and Cub Family 4-Packs are available at for the game against the Eagles.