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    Jan. 12, 2014

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    Northwestern Minnesota 94, Northwestern 59
    Williams Arena • Minneapolis, Minn.

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    MINNEAPOLIS -- Northwestern began its stretch of three games in seven days Sunday, playing Minnesota at Williams Arena. Despite 19 points from Minneapolis native, Nia Coffey, the Gophers took the 94-59 victory.

    Northwestern scored the first bucket of the game but Minnesota responded quickly with a 7-0 run to lead early. NU struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 22.2 percent (4-of-18) at the under eight media timeout but found themselves down just three points after Maggie Lyon drained two free throws to put the score at 18-15.

    Christen Inman again cut the Gophers’ lead to three points (20-17) but shortly after, Minnesota stormed ahead by nine with back-to-back 3-pointers. Minnesota maintained its lead for the remainder of the half, taking the 42-26 lead into the break.

    Northwestern did a good job of containing the Gophers’ top scorer in the first frame as Rachel Banham, who is second in the Big Ten averaging 21.4 points per game, had seven points of on 2-of-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Shayne Mullaney, who averaged 7.0 points heading into Sunday’s contest, led the Gophers with nine in the first half.

    Minneapolis native Nia Coffey led Northwestern with seven points in the first while Inman added six and Lauren Douglas chipped in five points and a team-high five rebounds. The Wildcats finished at 29.6 percent in the first frame on 8-of-27 from the field. Minnesota shot 48.1 percent, including 5-of-8 from long distance in the opening half.

    The Gophers continued to maintain their lead and the momentum to start the second until the Wildcats made a run about five minutes into the frame. Coffey drained two free throws and the Wildcats forced an empty Gophers’ possession on the other end. Coffey added two more with a jumper in the lane to bring NU within 11 (52-41) and Douglas drew a charge on the other end.

    Minnesota halted NU’s run by going on a 12-0 run of its own, which included two 3-pointers, and took the 64-41 lead with about 11 minutes left. Lyon eventually stopped the Minnesota run with two FTs but the Gophers maintained control for the remainder of the game to take the win.

    Lyon also scored in double-digits for the Wildcats, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds. Douglas had a team-high eight rebounds. Banham caught fire in the second half for the Gophers, finishing with a game-high 28 points and had 10 rebounds.

    Northwestern continues its busy stretch of three games in seven days, returning home to Welsh-Ryan Arena to host Illinois in a game that will tip at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wednesday’s game will take place following the NU men’s basketball game vs. Michigan State. The week then concludes Saturday in Evanston when the Wildcats host Wisconsin on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.

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