Badgers' Comeback Stopped Short By Bulldogs

MADISON, Wis. -- Despite coming from behind to lead by one point with seven minutes to play, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a strong Drake squad, losing the non-conference contest, 65-54, Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

“We fought back in the game, but it wasn’t enough,” said head coach Bobbie Kelsey. “They took advantage of the press at the end and got some easy layups. I was proud of the kids for fighting through that stretch of being down by nine at half. They showed a lot of heart and courage on that. I’m really proud of them for that, but we wanted to win the game.”

Wisconsin enters its 12-day break with a 4-7 overall record, while the Bulldogs improve to 4-4. The Badgers host Green Bay on Dec. 23 in their final non-conference game of the season.

Down by 12 (37-25) with 16:14 remaining, Taylor Wurtz sparked Wisconsin’s offense with a layup and three free throws to bring the Badgers within nine, 39-30, with 14:59 to play.

With the full-court press on, the Badgers were able to capitalize on four Drake turnovers, using a 12-3 run to tie the game at 42 with 7:37 on the clock. A layup by Rachel Hackbarth gave the lead back to Drake, but a 3-pointer by Jacki Gulcynski 15 seconds later put UW up, 45-44.

Hackbarth led a 10-0 Drake run, scoring four straight free throws, including two at 5:49 to put Drake up 48-45. Stephanie Running added two buckets as the Bulldogs led 54-45 with 3:46 to play. Gulczynski hit her second 3-pointer with 3:33 left to end the DU run and cut the Drake lead to 54-48.

A pair of free throws by Kyndal Clark at 2:30 put the Bulldogs up by 10 (58-48). The Badgers were unable to cut the lead to less than seven points the rest of the game as Drake went on for the win.

The Badgers’ offensive struggles began in the first half, as they were just 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) from the floor, including 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range. Drake was able to put up 30 first-half points on 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) shooting, going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Wisconsin entered halftime with a nine-point deficit (30-21).

Wurtz and Jade Davis put up 12 points apiece, a season-high for Davis, while Anya Covington added 10 points and led the Badgers on the boards with nine rebounds. The Bulldogs were led by the 20-point, 11-rebound performance from Hackbarth, while Clark chipped in 17 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Badgers finished the game 20-of-57 (35.1 percent) from the floor, shooting 6-of-25 (24 percent) from 3-point range. Drake shot 22-of-51 (43.1 percent), going 5-of-10 (50 percent) beyond the arc. Wisconsin went to the free throw line 12 times, shooting 66.7 percent (8-of-12), while the Bulldogs were 16-of-23 (69.6 percent).

For the third time in three games, Wisconsin was outrebounded, 38-37. The Badgers committed 13 turnovers and recorded a season-high nine steals, while Drake handed the ball over 14 times and recorded four steals. UW also had five blocks with two each coming from Covington and Ashley Thomas.

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