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.