Women’s basketball: Gophers push Illinois before falling, 69-62
Rose Micheaux had game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers (9-14, 2-10).
Minnesota played its best game in weeks, using a 15-5 run to tie the game with 1 minute, 51 seconds remaining, but Marika Cook answered by scoring eight points in a 9-0 run as Illinois pulled away for a 69-62 victory Sunday in Champaign, Ill.
Cook had team-highs of 21 points and five assists, and Adalia McKenzie added 20 points and nine rebounds as Illinois improved to 18-6 overall, 8-5 in the Big Ten Conference.
Rose Micheaux had game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Gophers (9-14, 2-10), who trailed 55-45 with 9:03 remaining before clawing their way back in with a series of points from the paint.
Micheaux scored six points on layups, and Mallory Heyer added a layup on a backdoor cut as Minnesota cut its deficit to 55-53 before Destinee Oberg, giving Micheaux a breather, was fouled inside and made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 55-54 with 4:06 left.
McKenzie answered with consecutive driving layups, including a three-point play, but Micheaux answered with a turnaround jumper in the paint, and Isabelle Gradwell tied the score, 60-60, with a short jumper off an inbounds play.
That, however, was just about it for Minnesota, which didn’t score again until Mara Braun hit two free throws with five seconds left before Illinois let the clock expire on the third victory in five games.
Braun finished with 11 points, the only other Gophers player in double figures. Micheaux notched her ninth double-double this season.
The Gophers have lost four games in a row and 9 of 10 overall since a 59-48 victory over Illinois State on Dec. 22 in their last nonconference game. They have six regular-season games remaining, starting Wednesday at No. 10 Ohio State at 6 p.m.
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