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Gopher women storm past Penn State, 85-76

Minnesota doubled up Penn State in the fourth quarter, 32-16, on its way to an 85-76 victory Monday night in University Park.

Winners of two straight, Minnesota had four players in double figures with sophomore Sara Scalia leading the way with a season-high 21 points.

It was the fourth 20-point performance of her career, and the Gophers are 4-0 in those contests. Scalia, who did not play when the teams met 15 days ago due to injury, hit five 3-pointers Monday to match a career high set last season at Penn State, while her seven rebounds equaled a season-best.

Senior Gadiva Hubbard tallied 18 points and six rebounds in the win, while sophomore Jasmine Powell pitched in with 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, tying season highs in both of the latter categories.

Fellow sophomore Kadi Sissoko scored 15 points and tied junior Kayla Mershon for the team lead with eight rebounds.

Minnesota led by two at halftime, 41-39, but Penn State scored the first eight points of the second half to take the lead back. A 7-0 run for the Golden Gophers put them up 51-50, but the Lady Lions finished the third quarter on a 10-2 run and led 60-53 entering the fourth. In the third, PSU outscored Minnesota, 21-12.

Penn State pushed the lead to 67-57 with 8:18 to play, but Minnesota closed out the game with a 28-9 run to win its third in a row at Bryce Jordan Center and fourth in the last five contests.

Scalia sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a bucket from Sissoko to cut the lead to two in less than two minutes of game time. Powell then buried a 3-pointer of her own off an offensive rebound from Mershon to cap an 11-0 run and give Minnesota a 68-67 lead.

Penn State briefly took the lead off a basket from Johnasia Cash, who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter, and tied it again at 72-72, but the Gophers got clutch buckets from Hubbard and Laura Bagwell Katalinich to extend the lead to four with 1:53 to play. Minnesota then put the game away at the line, finishing 13-of-14 on free throws in the fourth.

The fourth quarter was the highest scoring quarter for the Gophers since also scoring 32 in the third quarter against Incarnate Word on Dec. 5, 2018, and it tied for the fourth-most points in a fourth quarter in program history. 

The Gophers had a season-high 22 assists on their 30 made field goals and committed just 13 turnovers.

Minnesota is back in action Thursday as it hosts Purdue at Williams Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Big Ten Network Plus.

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