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Gopher standout scores 45% of team’s offense

[ 0 ] January 8, 2014 |

Another day, another 20-point scorer allowed by the Iowa women’s basketball team.

Rachel Banham scored 32 points for Minnesota on Wednesday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, accounting for 45 percent of the team’s offense. The junior entered Wednesday’s game averaging 20.6 points per game.

Rachel Banham

Rachel Banham

But unlike the first two Big Ten games, the Hawkeyes prevailed 78-71 despite allowing such a strong output from one player. Indiana’s Larryn Brooks recorded 20 points on Jan. 2 and Maggie Lucas had 27 on Sunday for Penn State.

“We talked about it as a team. (Minnesota) is a two-person show almost,” coach Lisa Bluder said. “We take great pride in our balance. … (Banham and Amanda Zahui) are pretty darn good, though.

“Rachel got her points, and that’s going to happen. For us, the most important thing is we got the win versus how many points one person got.”

Box score: Iowa 78, Minnesota 71

Banham abruptly exited the contest with 10:20 remaining. Although she substituted back in at the 7:10 mark, Banham scored just eight points thereafter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that proved to be inconsequential. Minnesota led 53-51 when she left and the game was tied at 55 when the all-Big Ten player returned.

Minnesota coach Pam Borton said she wasn’t sure what happened to Banham.

“She came back pretty quickly, but I felt like she was gone for 20 minutes,” Borton said. “I thought we held the fort down pretty decently, but the momentum changed when she left the court.”

ALMOST PERFECT: After a poor free-throw shooting effort Sunday against Penn State — 59.1 percent — the Hawkeyes improved dramatically against the Gophers, showcasing an almost perfect performance from the charity stripe.

Bluder’s bunch went 26-of-28 (92.9 percent) from the line and had four players who made all of their attempts, with Melissa Dixon topping the score sheet at 5-of-5. Additionally, Bethany Doolittle was 9-of-10.

That could have been the sole difference in the game’s result. The Gophers went 8-of-11 overall.

“We are a good free-throw shooting team, but we haven’t shown it this year,” Bluder said. “We’ve been talking about that we need to do a better job from the free-throw line. We did today. We need to keep it up and have consistency in that area.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

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