• In the first of two games between the teams this season, Minnesota (12-6, 2-5 B1G) hosts Wisconsin (9-9, 1-6) Wednesday night. The game, which starts at 7 p.m. After Wednesday’s meeting in Minneapolis, the teams will face off for a second time in Madison on Feb. 6.
• Minnesota is 7-4 this season in home games, outscoring teams by an average of 76-63. The seven wins came consecutively from Nov. 10 to Dec. 21, one victory away from cracking the top 10 for longest home win streaks in program history. Gadiva Hubbard is averaging 12.2 points at home, while Taiye Bello nearly has a double-double with 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest.
• The Gophers lead the Big Ten and rank 21st in the country in free throw percentage at 76.3 percent, making 232 of 304 attempts. That figure is on pace to be percentage points better than the school record of .763 (431-565) set in 2009-10. Of the 20 teams ahead of the Gophers, only seven have made more or attempted more free throws. The next closest B1G team to Minnesota in percentage is Iowa at 73.8 percent.
• Senior Taiye Bello has posted eight double-doubles this year, including a stretch of four straight at one point. She also has had four other games this year where she was either one point or one rebound away from a double-double. Her eight double-doubles are tied for the most in the Big Ten and are 21st nationally. In her career, Bello has 23 double-doubles to rank sixth in Gophers history, and the Gophers are 20-3 in those games. Though her season averages have dipped slightly below that of a double-double, through Sunday’s games, she is still one of just 29 players nationally, and the only one from the Big Ten, with averages of 12.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this year.
• The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Sara Scalia notched the first double-double of her young career with 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds Thursday against Iowa. She’s the fi rst Gopher to have a double-double this year other than Taiye Bello, who has eight. After scoring 22 points (5-7 on 3-pointers) and grabbing seven rebounds in her Big Ten debut at Penn State on Dec. 28, Scalia averaged 6.7 points (4-11 on 3’s) and 5.7 rebounds over her next three conference games. She’s gotten back on the right track, though, averaging 17.3 points (10-23 on 3-pointers) and 6.7 rebounds in her last three outings.
• Like Scalia, Minnesota’s offense as a whole hit a mini-slump early in the Big Ten season but it seems to have since righted the ship. After scoring 81 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the fl oor and 55.6 percent on 3-pointers at Penn State in the conference opener, Minnesota shot 34.8 percent on fi eld goals and 33.3 percent on 3-pointers while averaging 58.3 points over its next three games. However, in the last three contests, the Gophers have averaged 72.7 points per contest while shooting 40.7 percent from the fi eld and 37.1 percent from long range.
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm talked so Gopher freshman Sara Scalia of Stillwater:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)