It was a close call, but the Golden Gophers women's basketball team survived the first round of the Big Ten Tournament with a 74-68 overtime win over the Wisconsin Badgers Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
All hope looked lost as Minnesota went to the half trailing 35-21. The deficit reached 16 points early in the second half before Rachel Banham and company rallied for a thrilling comeback. Banham, a first-team all-Big Ten point guard, led the way with 22 points. She was clutch at the free-throw line, hitting all 10 of her attempts. Amanda Zahui B. pulled down a game-high 19 rebounds.
A loss likely would have killed any chance Minnesota had at receiving an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. With Selection Sunday this weekend, the Gophers may need another win to secure a trip to the dance. 20 wins on the season is usually good enough to get into the tournament, but a win in the second round tonight over the No. 3-seed Nebraska would all but cinch a bid.
Tonight's game will be televised on Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.
The Gophers have 20 wins for the first time since the 2009 season.
Check out the full Big Ten Conference tournament bracket right here.