BYU offense proves too strong for Badgers in 77-59 loss

Posted-November 23rd, 2011 11:22 pm

PROVO, Utah -- Despite a strong start, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team couldn’t keep pace with a potent BYU offense, falling to the Cougars, 77-59, in Provo, Utah, Wednesday evening.

Wisconsin watched an early six-point lead vanish as BYU was able to take advantage of a strong 18-of-30 (60 percent) shooting performance to take a 13-point lead at the end of the first half, 46-33. The Cougars’ offense slowed down in the second half, shooting 13-of-28 (46.4 percent), but the Badgers struggled to score. With the loss, Wisconsin falls to 1-4, while the win puts BYU above the .500 mark (3-2).

The game was tight early in the first half, and Morgan Paige gave Wisconsin its largest lead of the night, 10-4, with a jumper at the 16:45 mark, but BYU’s offense was just beginning to get to work.

The Cougars took the lead for good at 13:50 and never looked back, eventually extending their lead to 13 twice in the second half. The 46 first half points were the most by a UW opponent this year.

The second half played out similar to the first, with BYU’s offense controlling the pace of the game. Wisconsin finished the game shooting 41.7 percent (20-of-48) from the field and just 20 percent (3-of-15) from beyond the arc. BYU closed out the game shooting 53.4 percent (31-of-58), including 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from 3-point range.

“We are getting the open looks, we are just not knocking them down and that hurts you when the other team is hitting their shots,” Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. “We got to the free throw line and hit those, but you’ve got to score in the live action. We are doing some good things; it’s just not enough right now.”

Taylor Wurtz recorded 15 points in the second half to lead the Badgers with a season-best 18 points, while Anya Covington put up 12. The Badgers’ defense held BYU point leader, Haley Steed, to just four points and foul trouble kept the Cougars’ second leading scorer, Kim Parker, off the floor. But four other Cougars recorded double-digit point totals to lead BYU to victory.

“You shut down their best player and maybe one or two of the other ones,” Kelsey said. “But, they (BYU) are doing what I would like for us to do. When our best player is struggling and can’t score, we have other people step up.”

Wisconsin continues its holiday road trip, traveling to Colorado on Friday and Saturday for the Colorado Omni Class. Tournament play begins for the Badgers against Montana State on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT).

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