February 23, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes center Ashley Adams (33) defends as Minnesota Golden Gophers center Amber Dvorak (55) maneuvers for a shot at Value City Arena. Ohio State won the game 81-56. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Women's Basketball: Gophers Season Likely Over With Loss To Nittany Lions

The Minnesota Golden Gophers could not sustain an impressive first half in a difficult test against the top-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions.

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Big Ten Tournament: Big Ten Network To Televise Minnesota Vs. Penn State Women's Basketball Game

The 2012 Big Ten Tournament started off solidly for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as the women picked up a big victory over the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday night to advance out of the first round. The road gets much more difficult on Friday, however, as the Gophers are scheduled to face the Penn State Nittany Lions in a game the Big Ten Network will be televising live at 5 p.m.

The Gophers were swept in the season series by the top-seeded Nittany Lions, but there is a bit of hope for the underdogs in Friday night's game. In their first meeting of the season, Minnesota jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half before narrowly dropping a three-point decision before all was said and done.

It's likely that senior Kiara Buford and Rachel Banham, the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year, will once again lead the Gophers against the Nittany Lions. Buford moved to seventh place on the Gophers' all-time scoring list with 19 points on Thursday while Banham added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Nittany Lions are led by a backcourt featuring sophomore guard Maggie Lucas and junior Alex Bentley. Both players were named first team All-Big Ten.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about women's basketball in general at SB Nation's Swish Appeal.

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Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament Results: Minnesota Advances With Win Over Wisconsin

The Minnesota Golden Gophers advanced through the first round of the women's Big Ten Tournament on Thursday evening, handily defeating the Wisconsin Badgers in a battle of the eight and nine seeds. Senior Kiara Buford scored 19 points as the Gophers rolled to an 81-49 victory in a postseason version of the Border Battle.

Buford had an efficient day from the field as she finished the game making eight of her 10 field goal attempts to finish with the game-high 19 points, but Big Ten Freshman Player of the Year Rachel Banham wasn't bad either. Banham scored 11 points and corralled 10 rebounds to offset her 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

The win was a milestone of sort for the Gophers as they defeated the Badgers for the first time in six attempts and picked up their fifth-ever victory in the Big Ten Tournament. Buford reached an individual milestone, too, as her 1,461 career points pushed her past Emily Fox for the No. 7 spot on Minnesota's all-time scoring register.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about women's basketball in general at SB Nation's Swish Appeal.

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Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament: Minnesota Golden Gophers Vs. Wisconsin Badgers Play Thursday

The Minnesota Golden Gophers women's basketball team will play the Wisconsin Badgers in the first round of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament.

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