Nov. 27, 2010
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RENO, Nev. – Leah Cotton and Kristen Dockery combined for 37 points off the bench for Minnesota in a 71-67 win over NC State Saturday night in the consolation game of the Nugget Classic.
That effort from the Golden Gopher reserves more than made up for a rare off night from leading scorer Kiara Buford, who came into the game averaging 18.5 per game. She made just two shots and had five points as she battled through foul trouble all night long.
Bonae Holston led NC State (3-4) with 18 points, while senior Brittany Strachan had 11.
Cotton’s 25 points was a career effort for Minnesota (4-3), while Katie Loberg had 15, and Dockery added 12.
Amber White converted an old-fashioned three-point play at the 12:40 mark of the second half to give NC State a 51-50 lead, but eight straight points from Dockery swung the momentum in favor of the Gophers. Two more free throws from Cotton and it was a 60-53 deficit for the Pack with less than eight minutes to play.
Down seven, Kastanek drained a deep three-ball to make it a 64-60 Minnesota lead with 4:46 left in regulation.
Kastanek got the Pack to within two, 69-67, with 13 seconds left, but Cotton sealed the win for the Gophers with two final free throws as she went 12-of-14 from the stripe.
Holston displayed her ability to dominate in the early portion of the game. The Newport News, Va., native had four of the Pack’s first six buckets for a 12-6 lead with 11:24 to play in the opening half.
Minnesota answered with an 11-5 run to knot the game at 17-all after a jumper from China Antoine at the 8:55 mark.
Strachan’s three-pointer made it 20-17 in favor of NC State, but Cotton then took the game over scoring eight-straight points at one juncture to give the Gophers a 25-22 advantage with just over five minutes to play until intermission.
Minnesota held its lead the remainder of the half, but the advantage was never more than four points. A Breezy Williams three-point play in the final minute made it a 33-32 deficit for the Wolfpack at halftime.
NC State takes on a second-straight Big Ten foe in Illinois on Wednesday night in Champaign, Ill. The 8:30 p.m. tip-off is part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.