Women’s Basketball: Minnesota outlasts Northwestern in double overtime 112-106


Keshia Johnson/The Daily Northwestern

Maggie Lyon pulls up for a shot. The senior guard notched a double-double in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota with 31 points and 12 rebounds.

Cole Paxton, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

After Minnesota defeated Northwestern 95-92 in late January, coach Joe McKeown credited the Gophers for making several shots late in the game. On Sunday, the Gophers again made the shots in crunch time.

NU (14-10, 3-9 Big Ten) had three 20-point scorers, but Minnesota’s Rachel Banham tied the NCAA record with 60 points as the Golden Gophers (16-7, 8-4) outlasted the Cats, 112-106, in double overtime at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“We’re just really disappointed,” McKeown said. “We played our hearts out; you got to give Minnesota a lot of credit. They made a couple more plays than us in the first overtime and then in the second overtime.”

The Cats struggled mightily to slow down Banham and guard Carlie Wagner, who entered Sunday averaging a combined 43.5 points per game, the most of any duo in the country.

Compared to their last game, NU defended Wagner better — she needed 17 shots to score her 21 points. Banham, however, was a force all game long.

In one stretch early in the fourth quarter, Banham scored on four consecutive Minnesota possessions. Her 11 points in that stretch turned a 6-point NU lead into a one-point Gophers advantage, and she also scored 18 points in the extra periods.

“She’s a good player, so she’s going to hit tough shots,” senior guard Maggie Lyon said of Banham.

McKeown, however, was more effusive in his praise, and said Minnesota’s strong team play limited the Cats’ ability to slow down Banham.

“Their other players are good players too, so you got to guard them,” McKeown said. “You can’t just run two or three people at her because they’ve proven they can play off of that.”

NU’s offense was similarly strong. Lyon led the Cats with 31 points and 12 rebounds and junior forward Nia Coffey had 28 points and 12 rebounds of her own. Freshman forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah’s 8 offensive rebounds helped propel NU to 20 second chance points compared to Minnesota’s 4 points on second opportunities.

The Cats, however, were plagued by foul trouble at the end of the game. Kunaiyi-Akpanah, fouled out early in the first overtime, and Deary recorded her fifth foul midway through the second overtime, leaving NU to play extended minutes at the end of the game with freshman guard Jordan Hankins and sophomore guard Lydia Rohde.

“She’s an awesome rebounder, so we definitely missed out on some opportunities,” Coffey said of Kunaiyi-Akpanah. “I feel like we did a good job of still staying aggressive, still playing hard and going for those rebounds.”

With the loss, the Cats are now just 2-8 in their last 10 games and have not won consecutive games in Big Ten play. Though NU remains near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, McKeown said he believes Sunday’s performance was a step forward for his team.

“You saw today how hard we played. I saw a lot of fight,” he said. “That was a 15-round prize fight tonight. … We have a lot to look forward to.”

This story was updated with postgame quotes.

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Twitter: @ckpaxton