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Bell, Pitts lead Minnesota past Green Bay in tourney opener

Field Level Media

Kenisha Bell and Destiny Pitts combined for 46 points, and No. 10 seed Minnesota came from behind in the second half to knock off No. 7 seed UW-Green Bay 89-77 Friday in an opening-round game in the women's NCAA Tournament at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.

Green Bay led by 10 at halftime but trailed 78-77 with 3:27 to play. The Gophers closed out the game with an 11-0 run to put away the Phoenix.

Bell finished with 26 points and Pitts had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Gophers, who advance to face Oregon on Sunday in the second round of the Spokane Regional. The Ducks routed Seattle 88-45 later Friday night.

Allie Leclaire and Laken James each hit 3-pointers to give Green Bay the lead back briefly in the fourth quarter. Pitts answered with a 3-pointer that had Minnesota up 74-72 with six minutes to play.

Leclaire led Green Bay with 17 points, and former Superior Spartan Jessica Lindstrom finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Gophers grabbed the lead in the first quarter. Pitts and Carlie Wagner hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Minnesota a 22-17 lead heading into the second quarter.

Green Bay found its rhythm in the second quarter. Lindstrom knocked down two 3-pointers as the Phoenix grabbed the lead. They outscored Minnesota 25-10 in the quarter and took a 42-32 lead into halftime.

The Gophers chipped into Green Bay's lead late in the third quarter. Bell converted a 3-point play and Jessie Edwards had a layup in the final minute to cut the deficit to 64-59 heading into the fourth quarter

Green Bay won its fourth straight Horizon League title this season. The Phoenix have won seven of the last eight league championships, but they couldn't hold the lead against the Gophers, who were one of the final teams to earn an at-large bid to the tournament.

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