Feb. 15, 2016
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By DARREN MILLER
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota fifth-year senior Rachel Banham swished a 3-point field goal as time expired to lead the Golden Gophers to a 78-76 victory over the University of Iowa on Monday in women’s basketball in Williams Arena.
“Rachel Banham is a special player,” UI head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She is tough to guard and you knew she was going to be the one that took that last shot.”
Banham’s heroics provided the 11th lead change of the fourth quarter and came eight seconds after Iowa’s Ally Disterthoft converted a layup to give the Hawkeyes a 76-75 lead.
“I think Ally can beat anybody off the bounce,” Bluder said. “We went with that and she did a great job.”
Iowa falls to 15-11 overall, 5-9 in the Big Ten; Minnesota is 18-7, 10-4.
The Hawkeyes had plenty of positives, despite suffering their fourth setback in a row. They were 16-of-16 from the free throw line, held a 46-38 advantage on the boards, and had four more assists (17) than turnovers (13).
“We were perfect from the free throw line and we out-rebound them by eight,” Bluder said. “There are a lot of good things on this stat sheet: 17 assists, 13 turnovers. The only thing we see are two less points and it is just one defensive stop away from a great victory.”
Iowa has out-rebounded its last three opponents: Minnesota, Ohio State (40-34), and Michigan State (35-29). A big reason for that is the production on the glass from freshman Megan Gustafson and sophomore Chase Coley.
Gustafson pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds against the Gophers and is averaging 12.2 rebounds over the last six games. With 14 points, she posted her fifth double-double in the last six games.
“Megan did a great job on the boards,” Bluder said. “I don’t think anybody has had 19 rebounds in a lot of years.”
The school record for rebounds in a game is 26 by Jerica Watson against Creighton in 2001.
Gustafson was joined in the double-double club by Coley with 21 points and 11 rebounds. It is Coley’s fourth double-double of the season.
“Chase and I knew we needed to rebound to get second-chance opportunities,” Gustafson said.
The Hawkeyes scored 23 second-chance points, fueled by Gustafson and Coley both pulling down six offensive rebounds. A field goal by Gustafson off an offensive rebound matched Iowa’s largest lead at 45-32 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
Disterhoft made 8-of-14 field goal attempts and finished with 20 points. She added two 3-point field goals and five rebounds.
Coley scored 10 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. But while the Hawkeyes missed all five of their 3-point attempts, Minnesota was 4-of-6 from distance. Banham made three of those 3-pointers and finished with 13 points in the final 10 minutes and 35 for the game. Her scoring average of 26.4 points per games is tops in the Big Ten.
Iowa led 38-28 at halftime and held Minnesota to 35-percent shooting from the field.
“We did a great job holding them to 28 points in the first half,” Bluder said. “We just couldn’t keep it going for the whole game.”
Iowa returns home to play two games in three days. The Hawkeyes host Purdue (16-9, 7-7) on Thursday at 7 p.m. (CT) and Indiana (17-9, 9-5) on Sunday at 2 p.m. Iowa lost to both teams during their first meeting of the season: 90-73 at Purdue on Jan. 24 and 79-74 at Indiana on Feb. 4.
Purdue is on a four-game losing streak, Indiana has won four games in a row.
“If we come back and practice hard and get prepared for Purdue, we can have a great victory on Thursday night on our home court,” Bluder said. “Being on our home court is going to be great. Hopefully we will have a great crowd come out and support us.”