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Gophers women escape NDSU’s rally for 69-65 win in WNIT Super 16

It didn't take long for this one to go from breeze to hold your breath.

OK, exhale.

The Gophers eked out a 69-65 victory over North Dakota State on Friday night in a WNIT Super 16 game at Williams Arena.

But only after a 16-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter had turned into a three-point deficit with just over 2 minutes left in the game. After the Gophers took more than half of the fourth quarter to register a point.

Finally, Amaya Battle scored five of the Gophers' final seven points in the final 73 seconds of the game, pulling out the victory.

But only after the Bison (22-12) had outscored the Gophers 23-4 from late in the third quarter until late in the fourth.

Down three, Battle hit a jumper with 1:13 left. After a Bison miss, Battle hit another jumper with 34 seconds left to put the Gophers up one.

Out of a timeout, Nia Holloway got a steal, was fouled and made both free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining. Battle's free throw with 2.2 seconds left finished the scoring.

Battle was one of four Gophers players who scored in double figures. She had 11 with five rebounds and five assists. Grace Grocholski had 16 points, Mallory Heyer 13 points and 12 rebounds and Sophie Hart scored 10.

NDSU's Elle Evans led all scorers with 18 points.

With the Gophers (18-15) mired in a stretch in which they missed five consecutive shots, North Dakota State led 8-7 with 4 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Gophers ended the quarter on a 12-4 run to take an 18-12 lead into the second quarter. Leading the way was Heyer, who scored seven of those 12 points, finishing the quarter with seven points and four rebounds. She hut a three-pointer, then twice made back-door cuts for easy baskets during the run.

Hart scored to start the second quarter, putting Minnesota up eight.

But then the Bison, with Evans scoring five points, went on a 14-4 run to take a 26-24 lead on Evans' three-pointer with 6:21 left in the half.

Over the next few minutes there was two lead changes and two ties.

But the Gophers' work on the offensive boards — they had 10 in the second quarter alone — started making up for some cold shooting. Both Hart and Heyer scored on put-backs in the closing moments of the half to put the Gophers up 34-30.

Hart had two baskets in a 6-1 start to the third quarter that put the Gophers up nine. It was the start of a 24-14 quarter for the Gophers, growing the lead to 14 entering the fourth.