MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Rachel Banham scored 35 points in her final game at Williams Arena and Carlie Wagner scored with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to lift Minnesota to a 90-88 victory over No. 5 Ohio State on Wednesday night.
Wagner scored 26 points, the last on a pullup from the baseline after Banham had fouled out, and the Golden Gophers (19-9, 11-6 Big Ten) picked up a much-needed signature win to strengthen their case for an NCAA tournament bid.
Minnesota thought it had the game won when Jessie Edwards scored on a put-back with 0.5 seconds left in regulation, but Alexa Hart scored on a backdoor lob to force overtime for Ohio State (23-5, 10-7).
Shayla Cooper had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Hart finished with 14 points and 17 boards for the Buckeyes. Kelsey Mitchell scored 21 points on 6-for-24 shooting, but she couldn’t get a shot off on the last possession and Ohio State lost for the first time in 12 games.
Minnesota grabbed 24 offensive rebounds to overcome 36 percent shooting, but Minnesota was able to slow Ohio State’s high-octane offense just enough to pull out the win.
The Buckeyes entered the game second in the nation in scoring offense at 87.3 points per game, fourth in field goal percentage (48.9) and winners of 19 of their last 20 games. Ameryst Alston was coming off of a 39-point game in a win over Illinois and Mitchell had 35 as well for the run-and-gun Buckeyes. Only one time in their last seven games had they won by fewer than 10 points and they had won their previous two games by a combined 69 points.
All that offense came to a screeching halt in the first half. Ohio State shot 35 percent, went 1 for 11 from 3-point range and managed just 34 points. Alston had six and missed seven of her nine shots and Mitchell was 1 for 8.
The Gophers were even worse, shooting just 25 percent, including 17 percent in the first quarter. But they hit four 3-pointers in the first half and attempted 10 more shots thanks to 13 offensive rebounds to keep it close.
And as long as it’s close, the Gophers have a chance thanks to Banham. The Big Ten’s career scoring leader was honored before the game on Senior Night for a stellar career that has seen her comeback from a torn ACL in her right knee to resume her status as one of the best scorers in the country. She had 60 points in an overtime win over Northwestern on Feb. 7 and 52 in a loss to Michigan State on Sunday, earning her the Twitter admiration of Kobe Bryant.
Banham’s fifth 3 of the game, a Curry-like pull-up from well beyond the arc gave the Gophers a 55-54 lead late in the third quarter and the Gophers still led by three with five minutes to play.
Ohio State: Came into the game eighth in the country in 3-point percentage at 37.8, but shot just 23 percent (6 for 26).
Minnesota: The 10 3-pointers pushed the Gophers to 156 on the season, a new conference-only Big Ten record. Ohio State held the previous record with 151 last season. … Edwards had eight of her 12 rebounds on the offensive glass and Joanna Hedstrom added 10 boards for the Gophers.
Ohio State: Visits Michigan State on Saturday.
Minnesota: Visits Maryland on Sunday.
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