It wasn't pretty, but they got the job done. The Gopher Women's Basketball team defeated Michigan 91-88 in double overtime today on Senior Day. The win brings the Gophers record to 22-6 and 11-5 in the Big Ten. It closes out the Gophers home season at Williams Arena with a record of 13-2. The 22 wins is now tied for the second most in program history, and the first time it has been done since the 2004-05 season.
The Gophers got another great performance out of sophomore Amanda Zahui B. Zahui B added to her 39 points and 29 rebounds from Wednesday with another 27 points and 27 rebounds against the Wolverines. She will be a no-brainer choice for Big Ten Player of the Week, and one would assume National Player of the Week after averaging 33 points and 28 rebounds in two games this week. Zahui B also finished the game with five blocks, and ended up breaking her own single season record for blocks of 105. She now has 109 blocks on the season with two regular season games remaining.
The Gophers also got a great Senior Day performance from senior Shae Kelley. Kelley finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds to achieve her 11th double-double of the season. The Gophers also got a third player above the 20-point threshold in freshman Carlie Wagner who finished with 21. Its only the fifth time in program history that the Gophers have had three or more 20 point scorers in the same game.
The Gophers had a hard time getting in sync in the first half and turned the ball over 12 times trying to force the ball into Zahui B in the post. Michigan took a 39-33 lead into the break. However the Gophers came out hot early in the second half. The Gophers opened with a 12-2 run and got their lead up to 11 at one point before Michigan used a full court press to once again force several turnovers in a row and took a one pint lead with 1:42 left in the game. The Gophers did not back down and Shayne Mullaney nailed a three with 1:15 left to put the Gophers up by two. Katelynn Flaherty answered right back for Michigan with a triple and one again took a one point lead with 45 seconds left. The Gophers again hit a huge three-pointer, this time by Wagner to put the Gophers back up by two. It appeared that the Gophers had the game won in regulation, but Michigan got three shot attempts as time ran out, two of which were blocked by Zahui B, but the third was put back and in as the buzzer sounded by Nicole Emblad to send the game to overtime.
The Gophers jumped out to a four point lead in the first extra session, but once again could not hold onto the lead. Emblad nailed a jumper with 22 seconds left in overtime to tie the game at 80, and the Gophers couldn't get a potential game-winning shot attempt off and the game went to a second overtime session.
The Gophers finally too control and hung on in the second overtime. Zahui B scored six of her 27 points in the extra session, and the Gophers hit three of four free throws down the stretch to ice the game. Flaherty had a chance for Michigan to tie the game at the buzzer, but couldn't add to her game-high 27 points to force a third OT.
The Gophers will finish out the regular season next week with two tough road games at ranked opponents. Tuesday night the Gophers go to Lincoln to play #20 Nebraska at 8:00 and Sunday the Gophers finish the regular season in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes at 2:00. Both games will air live on BTN. The games will be key for seeding purposes for the Big Ten Tournament which will take place the next week in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.