MINNEAPOLIS — Illinois survived a 37-point onslaught by Minnesota sharpshooter Rachel Banham to pull out a 91-86 Big Ten women's basketball victory Monday night at Williams Arena.
The win extended the Illini’s undefeated streak in conference road games this season to four.
“Big win for our program,” UI coach Matt Bollant said. “To go on the road and win our first four says a lot about our resiliency, especially with them making a late run and Adrienne (GodBold) fouling out. Our kids stepped up and made plays.”
Four Illini players scored at least 16 points as the team eclipsed 90 for the second time this season. Karisma Penn (21 points, 12 rebounds) and GodBold (18 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles, while Amber Moore (20 points) and reserve Taylor Tuck (career-high 16) also scored in double figures.
The Illini (11-8, 4-3 Big Ten) needed that production to fend off the Gophers (13-8, 2-5), and Banham in particular. The sophomore guard hit 14 of 27 shots from the field, including 5 of 11 from three-point range.
“Banham was unbelievable and got them back in it and gave them a chance to win it,” Bollant said. “Then we made enough plays down the stretch to get it done.”
Tuck finished 3 of 4 at the foul line, sinking two free throws with 3:01 left to give Illinois an 83-82 lead. When Minnesota later drew within 87-86, Tuck made the second of two foul shots with 1:26 remaining to give Illinois a two-point lead.
“(I’m) really proud of Taylor Tuck,” Bollant said. “That’s a kid who played with a lot of courage and I’m proud of her.”
With the victory, Illinois matched its win total for last season.