Gophers destroy Incarnate Word, 75-39, in afternoon match-up

Lindsay Whalen's team remains unbeaten after win on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: KSTP/File
Lindsay Whalen's team remains unbeaten after win on Wednesday afternoon.

December 05, 2018 03:03 PM

No. 14/18 Minnesota scored the first 12 points of the game and never looked back in a 75-39 rout of Incarnate Word (0-9) Wednesday afternoon at Williams Arena. It was the team's sixth annual Field Trip Game in front of a crowd of 7,835 fans, including approximately 6,200 local elementary school students.

The victory improves Minnesota's record to 8-0, the third-best start to a season in program history. Only a 12-0 start in 2002-03 and a 15-0 record to begin 2003-04 have been better in program annals.

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Sophomore Destiny Pitts was one of three Golden Gophers to reach double figures as she led all scorers with 15 points, one off her season high. Pitts entered the contest 9-of-35 (.257 percent) from 3-point range, but she got in a groove and knocked down 5-of-9 3-point attempts against the Cardinals. She added four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Senior Annalese Lamke was the catalyst early, scoring seven of her 13 points just over halfway through the first quarter. She finished a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor and 5-of-5 at the free throw line, adding seven rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

Freshman Mercedes Staples was the third Gopher to reach double digits, notching 11 points. She also had a career-high four assists and a pair of steals.

Offensively, the Gophers made a season-high eight 3-pointers and shot a season-best 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from beyond the arc. In addition, the team made all nine of its free throw attempts and had a season-high 22 assists on its 29 made field goals. 

Comparatively, the defense turned in one of its best performances. The Cardinals' 39 points were the fewest by a Minnesota opponent since an 80-36 win over Loyola on Nov. 26, 2013. Incarnate Word's 15 made field goals and 22.7 percent shooting from the floor were also season lows by an opponent.

Minnesota opened the game on a 12-0 run and didn't allow a made field goal until 37 seconds remained in the opening frame. The Gophers' 15-4 advantage after the first quarter marked the fewest points scored against them in any quarter this season.

The second quarter was more of the same, holding a 17-7 edge in scoring. Combined, the 11 points scored by UIW were the fewest in a half this season by an opponent. Lamke had seven points and seven rebounds by the intermission.

The Gophers' offense exploded in the third quarter for a season-best 32 points to extend its lead to 64-28. Pitts hit four of her five 3-pointers in the quarter, while Lamke scored the final six of her 13 points and senior Kenisha Bell recorded five of her nine points in the frame. 

Minnesota returns to action this Sunday at Boston College (7-1). The Gophers' second road contest of the year tips off at 1 p.m. CT.

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