HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (GopherSports.com) –The University of Minnesota (23-8) women’s basketball team used a strong first half and 26 points from Shae Kelley to outlast Purdue (11-20), 82-78, in the second round of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament Thursday night at Sears Centre Arena.

The 23 wins on the season are the most for the Golden Gophers since the 2004-05 season and the squad advances to the quarterfinals of the league tournament for the second-straight season. Minnesota will face No. 3 seed Ohio State Friday night at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Along with her team-best 26 points, Kelley added eight rebounds and two steals, while Amanda Zahui B. notched her 22nd double-double of the season with 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Shayne Mullaney added 19 points and nine assists, with her nine assists tying for ninth all-time at the Big Ten Tournament for a single game.    

Minnesota finished the contest with a .412 (28-68) field goal percentage, 44 rebounds and had 31 opportunities at the free throw line.

Purdue struck first in the contest, but the Gophers used a 26-6 run to take an 18-point lead on the Boilermakers, 28-10, with 12:13 to play in the opening stanza. A scoring drought by the Maroon and Gold allowed Purdue to go on an 11-0 run to make it a seven-point game, 28-21, less than four minutes later. Kelley tallied 12 of her team-best 16 first-half points in the final six minutes to help Minnesota take a 13-point advantage into halftime, 45-32.

The Boilermakers opened the second half on a 14-5 run to pull within three points of the Gophers, 50-47, at the 14:54 mark, before eventually taking its first lead since the opening minutes of the contest, 59-58, with 7:35 to play in the game. Purdue took a three-point lead, its largest of the game, with 6:44 remaining, but a Kelley jumper and a three-pointer from Mullaney gave the advantage back to the Maroon and Gold, 67-65, at the four-minute mark.

A pair of free throws by Mullaney pushed Minnesota’s lead back to six points, 74-68, with 1:16 remaining, but the Boilermakers made it a two-point game, 80-78, with 15 seconds left on the clock on three free throws from Ashley Morrissette. A Purdue foul sent Kayla Hirt to the free throw line and the made pair sealed the victory for the Maroon and Gold. Hirt made four free throws and pulled down a huge defensive rebound in the last 28 seconds of play to come through big for the Gophers.

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