CINCINNATI – Four players scored in double figures as the No. 25 Gophers women’s basketball team easily beat Xavier 73-53 on Wednesday night in its first road game of the season before an announced crowd of 831.
Kenisha Bell led Minnesota (2-0) with 18 points, Destiny Pitts had 14, Jasmine Brunson 13 and Taiye Bello 11.
Bello, a 6-2 junior forward from Southfield, Mich., also tied a career high with 16 rebounds, seven on the offensive end. It was her second double-double in as many games this season and the sixth of her career.
The only starter held in single digits was center Annalese Lamke. She had seven points, but she took only four shots and made three of them. She had a career-high 21 points in the Gophers’ season opener.
“Proud of how out team played tonight on the road! Heading back to Minnesota with a W!” tweeted first-year Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen, whose team held consecutive opponents under 60 points for the first time since December 2015.
Tierra Floyd led the Musketeers (2-1) with 10 points.
Minnesota’s full-court defense caused problems for Xavier in the first half, The Musketeers turned the ball over seven times and shot 27.6 percent from the field. The Gophers opened a 20-7 first-quarter lead and extended it to 42-20 by halftime. The lead grew to as much as 34 points in the second half.
Minnesota shot 49.2 percent from the field, Xavier 34.4 percent overall. And behind Bello’s board work, the Gophers outrebounded the Musketeers 46-28.
U signs five
The members of Whalen’s first recruiting class all signed letters of intent Wednesday.
The class is made up of guards Jasmine Powell, Detroit Country Day School, and Sara Scalia, Stillwater; post players Grace Cumming, Des Moines (Iowa) Roosevelt, and Klarke Sconiers, Christ the King (New York); and wing Justice Ross, Des Moines East.
Powell — a high school teammate of Gophers sophomore Destiny Pitts — is a four-star recruit who was ranked the 78th-best player in the class by ESPN.
The other recruits are all three-star recruits.
Sconiers is ranked 18th among post players. Scalia is ranked as the 56th-best guard in the country. Cumming is the 42nd-ranked post player in the country. Ross is the 33rd-ranked wing player.
“With four seniors graduating this spring, this class addresses some needs to our roster,’’ Whalen said in a news release, ‘’and adds some depth in both the guard and post positions.’’