The Gophers didn’t need to break their three-point record in order to beat Wofford on Friday at the Williams Arena, but they did it anyway.
Minnesota defeated the Terriers 98-54 with a record-breaking 16 three-pointers in the team’s first game of the season, with 10 from redshirt senior Rachel Banham and senior Mikayla Bailey.
“When we’re feeling hot, it’s scary,” sophomore guard Carlie Wagner said. “We moved the ball really well this game. … It was a great night. It doesn’t really surprise me that we were hitting all those threes.”
The Gophers shot 16-41 on three-point attempts in the game, scoring on 39 percent of their shots from long range.
“We want to be around the 33 percent range,” head coach Marlene Stollings said. “I was pleased to see that piece of it.”
Wofford’s last lead of the game was when they were leading 9-8 early in the first period. The Gophers closed out the half on a 37-6 run and held the Terriers to just 17.1 percent on field goal attempts in the first half.
Bailey led all scorers with 26 points on 10-16 shooting. She also had her third career double double with 13 rebounds.
Banham also played well in her first game back for the Gophers since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in December last season. She had 22 points in just 26 minutes on the court and added two steals.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” Banham said. “I was ready to roll from the start.”
Minnesota’s defense also was strong, holding the Terriers to an overall field goal percentage of 30.4.
Wofford had trouble scoring any points against the Gophers for three out of the four quarters. The Terriers combined for 23 points in the first, second and fourth quarter but scored 31 points in the third quarter alone.
“I think there was a little letdown defensively for us,” Stollings said. “Overall, we were pleased with how we were able to [substitute] defenses tonight. It’s something we want to do a lot more of this year.”
Sophomore Jessie Edwards started the game at center for the Gophers, getting the first crack at the position after All-American Amanda Zahui B. left Minnesota for the WNBA in the offseason.
Edwards had 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in just 19 minutes in her first start.
Junior guard Joanna Hedstrom had eight points off the bench, including two of the team’s 16 three pointers.
“She’s a very capable scorer when she has space,” Stollings said. “[Hedstrom] finds seams, and she’s able to catch them off guard from time to time. We like to utilize her in that role.”
The Gophers outrebounded Wofford 62-31, including limiting the Terriers to just nine offensive rebounds.
Banham’s minutes were limited in her first game back from her injury, but she’s now just 85 points away from setting the career scoring record at Minnesota.
“It was nice to have Rachel back,” Stollings said. “She looked very good out there and very fit and strong. It was fun watching her back out there on the court.”