PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Sophomore Destiny Pitts continued her streak of 20-point games, but Minnesota (19-9, 8-9 B1G) dropped its final road game of the season to Rutgers (20-8, 12-5) Thursday night, 60-54.
Pitts scored a team-high 24 points against the Scarlet Knights, her fifth straight game with at least 21 points. She’s the first Gopher to have a streak of that length since teammate Kenisha Bell did it in six straight games in December of 2017. Pitts was 7-of-16 from the floor Thursday, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range to tie a season high in 3-pointers made.
Pitts was joined in double figures by Bell, who had 14 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.
Junior Taiye Bello nearly notched her 11th double-double of the season as she pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and scored eight points. Fellow junior Jasmine Brunson, who grew up about an hour away from the Rutgers campus in Queens, N.Y., led Minnesota with five assists and three steals while scoring five points.
Down 8-5 early in the game, Minnesota went on a 10-0 run that covered nearly four and a half minutes. Leading 15-12 after one quarter, the Gophers would not trail again until the fourth quarter.
In the second quarter, Minnesota was up one at 17-16, but Pitts helped give separation as she knocked down 3-pointers on three straight possessions to go on a personal 9-2 run. She scored 11 points in total in the frame, and Minnesota led 30-25 at the half.
Another 3-pointer from Pitts put the Gophers ahead 37-28 with 6:43 to play in the third quarter, their largest lead of the game. However, Rutgers responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just one. Pitts put a stop to the run, though, with another 3-pointer and Minnesota entered the fourth quarter up 42-38.
Rutgers tied the game on multiple occasions early in the fourth before taking the lead for the first time since 8-5 on a basket by Charise Wilson that put the Scarlet Knights ahead 46-44. Pitts tied the game back on the Gophers’ ensuing possession, but free throws from Arella Guirantes put Rutgers back on top for good with 6:20 to play.
Minnesota would get as close as four points the rest of the way when Bell made a layup to make it 52-48 with 2:26 to play, but the streak of the home team winning every game in the all-time series continued. Rutgers has won all five meetings in Piscataway, while Minnesota has taken all three in Minneapolis, including a 60-46 win earlier this year on Feb. 3.
Guirantes scored 14 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter alone as Rutgers outscored Minnesota 22-12 in the frame.
Minnesota closes out the regular season Sunday against Michigan State.
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Amir Coffey tied a career high with 32 points and set one with 12 rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 62-50 victory over Northwestern on Thursday night.
Coffey gave the Golden Gophers (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten) the lift they needed after they dropped six of seven to jeopardize their NCAA Tournament hopes. They also snapped a six-game road losing streak.
Coffey matched a high for points he set against Nebraska in December and easily surpassed his previous best of seven rebounds. The 6-foot-8 junior made 12 of 19 shots overall and 3 of 6 3-pointers.
Last-place Northwestern (12-16, 3-14) has lost nine straight and is on its worst streak since dropping 10 in a row during the 2014-15 season.
Dererk Pardon had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Vic Law scored 13, but the Wildcats continued to close in on their second straight losing season since making the NCAA for the first time.
They hoped returning to a renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena after playing home games last season in Rosemont, Ill., would restore the buzz surrounding the program. But with three games left, they will go into the Big Ten Tournament with a losing record.
Coffey scored 15 in the first half as Minnesota grabbed a 32-20 halftime lead. But he was about the only one clicking for either team in the early going.
Coffey scored seven points during a 10-0 run, nailing a 3 from up top before Gabe Kalscheur buried one from the corner to make it 28-14 with 4:13 left in the half.
Minnesota: Coffey will need some help with tough games left against No. 14 Purdue and No. 17 Maryland.
Northwestern: The Wildcats continue to sputter since beating Indiana at home on Jan. 22. They shot 34 percent overall and were 7 of 24 on 3-pointers.
Minnesota: Hosts Purdue on Tuesday.
Northwestern: Visits Illinois on Sunday.