Jan 17, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers forward Drey Mingo (24) and Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Rachel Banham (1) battle for a rebound during the 2nd half at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Women's Basketball: Minnesota Game Preview

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The Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Assembly Hall on Sunday.

The Fighting Illini lost to the Michigan Wolverines, 69-72, in their last game. They only had three players reach double-figures. Karisma Penn scored 18 points in 31 minutes, but fouled out of the contest. The leading scorer for Illinois was Ivory Crawford who scored 25 points.

This game will be the second meeting between Illinois and Minnesota. In their first meeting, the Illini beat the Golden Gophers, 91-86. Karisma Penn and Adrienne GodBold both recorded double-doubles. Penn had 21 points and 12 rebounds. GodBold had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

December 14, 2011; Denver CO, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Rachel Banham (1) drives with the ball in the second half against the Denver Pioneers at Magness Arena. Denver defeated Minnesota 72-63. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota comes into Sunday’s match-up with an overall record of 15-9 and a Big Ten record of 4-6. They are 2-1 in their last three games. They are coming into this match-up after beating Iowa, 72-60, in their last game.

The Golden Gophers have two players averaging double-digit points so far this season.

They are sophomore Rachel Banham (21.6 points per game) and junior Micaella Riche (12.4 points per game).

Both of these players are in the Big Ten’s Top 20 in scoring.

Banham is currently the #1 scorer in the conference while Riche is ranked 19th.

On the boards, Minnesota is led by Micaella Riche (7.3 rebounds per game), junior Kionna Kellogg (5.4 rebounds per game), and Rachel Banham (4.0 rebounds per game).

Riche is ranked 8th in the Big Ten in rebounding this season. As a team, Minnesota is ranked 6th in rebounding margin (+3.5).

This will be the 59th meeting between the Fighting Illini and the Golden Gophers. Illinois leads the series, 34-24.

If Illinois wants to win on Sunday, they will need to limit Rachel Banham’s production for Minnesota. On top of being the #1 scorer in the conference, she ranks ninth nationally in scoring and 10th nationally in free-throw percentage. Banham can score in a number of ways and the Illini “buzz defense” will need to be running to perfection in order to stop her.

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Tags: Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini Karisma Penn Minnesota Golden Gophers Rachel Banham

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