Riding a three-game winning streak, Minnesota (15-8, 5-7 B1G) plays host to Michigan (15-7, 6-5) Monday night in the only regular season meeting between the teams this season. The game, which starts at 6 p.m. The Gophers are 3-3 this year on national TV, going 1-3 on BTN and 1-0 each on ACC Network and ESPN2.
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MINNESOTA HEAD COACH LINDSAY WHALEN SAYS TEAM HAS A LOT TO PLAY FOR
THE OPENING TIP-OFF
• Minnesota is 9-5 this season in home games, outscoring teams by an average of 74-64. After dropping the season opener at home, the Gophers won seven straight at Williams Arena, which was one off cracking the top 10 longest home win streaks in program history. Minnesota lost its next four at The Barn but has since won two straight at home. Gadiva Hubbard is the team’s top scorer at home this year at 12.0 points per game, while Taiye Bello is not far behind her at 11.9 points and a team-best 10.6 rebounds per home contest. Jasmine Powell is also in double figures at home this year at 10.9 points per game.
• The Gophers lead the Big Ten and rank 27th in the country in free throw percentage at 75.9 percent, making 305 of 402 attempts. That figure is on pace to be the fourth best in school history and the best since the 2015-16 campaign. The next closest Big Ten team to Minnesota in percentage is Iowa, which ranks 54th at 74.2 percent.
• Senior Taiye Bello has posted 11 double-doubles this year. She had a stretch of four straight at toward the end of the non-conference and now has four in her last six games. She also has had five other performances this year where she was either one point or one rebound away from a double-double. Her 11 double-doubles lead the Big Ten and are 16th nationally. In her career, Bello has 26 double-doubles to rank sixth in Gophers history, and the Gophers are 22-4 in those games. Through Thursday’s games, she is one of just 19 players nationally, and the only one from the Big Ten, with her averages of 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this year.
• After coming off the bench for her first 19 games, freshman Jasmine Powell has started each of the last four contests, leading the team to a 3-1 record while thriving on the court. She made her first career start on Jan. 27 at Indiana, scoring a team-high 15 points while playing all 40 minutes. She followed that by tying a then-career high with 19 points and adding seven rebounds, four steals and three assists vs. Nebraska, then recorded 19 points, five rebounds and four assists while playing over 47 minutes against Rutgers Sunday. Thursday, she established a new career high with 24 points, as well as five rebounds and five assists, at Wisconsin. As a reserve through 19 games, Powell was averaging 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals while playing 20.3 minutes per game. In her four games as a starter, Powell is posting 19.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 steals while playing 41.5 minutes per game.
• With 991 career points, Gadiva Hubbard is closing in on becoming the 26th player in Gophers history to reach 1,000 points. Monday marks her 79th career game. If she were to reach the mark then, it would be the 12th fewest games needed to get to 1,000 points in team history.
• Minnesota and Michigan meet for the 65th time on Monday. The Gophers hold a 35-29 edge in the series with the Wolverines, and the .547 win percentage is Minnesota’s second best against any team it’s played at least 20 times. Only a .551 (43-35) mark against Wisconsin is better.
• In Minneapolis, the Gophers lead the Wolverines 19-11, winning four of the last five meetings at Williams Arena. The .633 home win percentage is Minnesota’s second best against any team it’s played at least 10 times. Only a .645 (20-11) mark against Indiana is better.
• Minnesota has three Michigan natives on its roster. Seniors Kehinde and Taiye Bello are from Southfield (Southfield-Lathrup HS), which is about 40 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor, while freshman Jasmine Powell is from Detroit (Detroit County Day HS), which is about 45 mins. east of Ann Arbor.
• Michigan enters the game 15-7 on the season and 6-5 in Big Ten play. The Wolverines won nine of their first 10 games and were 9-2 entering league play. A loss to Nebraska on Jan. 19 dropped them to 3-4, but Michigan has won three of its last four, highlighted by a 78-63 win over Iowa on Feb. 2.
• Naz Hillmon is one of the top players in the conference, leading Michigan with 17.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest. Her 4.4 offensive rebounds per game lead the league and rank eighth nationally, while she’s also second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (56.6; 25th in the country) and rebound average.
• Hillmon is one of four on the Michigan roster in double figures along with Kayla Robbins (11.6), Amy Dilk (10.7) and Akienreh Johnson (10.4).
• As a team, Michigan leads the Big Ten and is 27th nationally with a rebounding margin of 7.8.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)