After their best shooting performance of the season, the Minnesota women’s basketball team defeated American on Wednesday night 73-56 to extend their win streak to three.
“You know, (I) give our guys credit for responding, especially after the start of the first few possessions,” Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen said. “Happy with the win. Happy to be able to take a look at this, learn some things, and continue to get better.”
Minnesota opened with a miss, then two consecutive turnovers, and found themselves trailing American 8-4 early. However, Whalen took a timely timeout.
Then, the Gophers settled in and quickly gained momentum as they went on a 13-point run that stretched over five minutes to take a 17-8 lead, highlighted by a trio of threes from graduate students Gadiva Hubbard and Deja Winters and junior Jasmine Powell. They finished the first quarter with a 21-12 lead, a season-high point total for Minnesota in the opening quarter.
After Minnesota’s big run, American had a seven-point run of its own that stretched from the end of the first quarter into the second, but Powell ended it with her second three-pointer of the night with 8:28 remaining to get the Gophers back on track as they led 24-17.
The Gophers did not allow their lead to be less than three points for the rest of the first half as they held a 35-28 lead over American, with 15 of those points coming from off the bench.
Powell and Winters fueled the Gophers in the first half, combining for 15 points as Powell went on to finish the game with 12 points, a season-high eight assists, and a team-high six rebounds.
“Our team responds,” Whalen said. “We got more active, and I think our players got more of a feel of what they were trying to do. We always respond, and it’s a credit to the players on the team.”
When the second half got underway, the Gophers continued to build on their lead behind Kadiatou Sissoko, who scored 13 of her season-high 17 points in the second half while wearing a facemask, as she also tallied five rebounds and an assist.
All 15 healthy players on Minnesota’s roster played, marking freshman Maggie Czinano’s career-debut. The bench scored a season-high 30 points, led by graduate student Laura Bagwell-Katalinich, who scored eight points in her debut coming back from an injury.
With just over one minute remaining in the game, sophomore Erin Hedman, off the bench, gave the Gophers their largest lead of the night at 73-52 as she scored her first basket, hitting a three-pointer.
In the 17-point win, the Gophers shot season highs in field goal percentage and three-point percentage at 46% (29-63) and 36% (9/25).
“(To) come out here executing that is great to see because they [my teammates] work on that every day,” Powell said on the team’s offensive shooting and scoring night. “Just moving the ball and finding the open player, that’s what we want to do. We want to get in the paint, we want to find the open player, and our guys, they take pride in knocking those shots down.”
Minnesota is now 3-0 all-time against American. Upcoming this weekend, they will partake in the Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas, and will take on Connecticut first on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 11 a.m.