CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Jamie Broback scored 14 of her 18 points
in the first half to lead No. 12 Minnesota to a 64-49 victory over
Illinois on Thursday night.
Broback hit a 3-pointer to open the game as the Golden Gophers
(16-4, 8-1 Big Ten) jumped out to a 10-2 lead they would never give
up. The win was Minnesota's sixth straight road victory in Big Ten
Natasha Williams scored 11 points, going 5-for-5 from the field,
for the Golden Gophers.
Illinois (12-9, 4-6) was down 39-23 at halftime but tightened
its defense considerably and battled back to close to within seven
points, holding Broback scoreless in the process. Minnesota didn't
score for over 5 minutes while the Illini cut a 14-point Gopher
lead to 50-43.
But the Gophers went on a 14-6 run, with Broback scoring her
final four points, to close the game. The Illini, who were
scoreless in the last 3:27, lost their fifth straight.
Freshman Lori Bjork led Illinois with 14 points, while Janelle
Hughes added 10. But the Illini shot only 32 percent and were
2-for-11 on 3-pointers.
Illinois missed 11 of its first 14 shots and fell behind 26-8 in
the first nine minutes as Minnesota scored on eight straight
possessions at the end of the run. Broback hit a layup and a
3-pointer, Lauren Lacey hit a jumper and Kelli Roysland hit two
more 3s to give Minnesota a 21-8 lead. Then Lacey made a free throw
and Broback hit two more baskets.
The Gophers were Illinois' fourth nationally ranked opponent in
the last five games.