Second half struggles: Wisconsin falls flat in loss at Minnesota

Posted-January. 23rd, 2014 11:31 pm

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- A strong first half turned into a struggle in the second as the Wisconsin women's basketball team suffered a 64-53 loss at Minnesota Thursday night.

The Badgers led the Golden Gophers for the first 27 minutes but could hold on for the win in the Big Ten Conference road game.

Nicole Bauman hit the first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, and the Badgers appeared to be in control. A jump shot by Taylor Wurtz at the 11:13 mark gave Wisconsin (9-9 overall, 2-4 Big Ten) its largest lead, 20-10. Minnesota (13-7, 2-4) fought to get the score within three points on three occasions, but the Badgers took 29-23 lead into halftime.

The Gophers opened the second half with a 7-2 run and the Badgers' lead appeared in jeopardy. Minnesota took its first lead of the game, 32-31, with just over 13 minutes remaining.

A pair of free throws by Michala Johnson at the 10:29 mark gave Wisconsin the lead again, 37-36, but Minnesota's offense wasn't done.

The Gophers jumped back in front of the Badgers, twice extending their lead to nine before a jumper by Shayne Mullaney gave Minnesota the largest lead of the game, 62-51, with 52 seconds to go.

"This is our second game where (in the) second half we let them score," said UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey. "You know when they are shooting 60 percent, it's layups.

"They are getting layups and I don't know why that is the case because we do work on our defense. We will have to reassess what is going on."

Morgan Paige finished the night with 13 points and Bauman chipped in 11 to lead UW. Jacki Gulczynski and Johnson pulled down eight boards each.

Minnesota was led by 19 points from Rachel Banham. Micaella Riche added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Mullaney finished with 11 and Kayla Hirt scored 10.

Wisconsin shot 36.8 percent (21-for-57) from the field, including a 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) performance from 3-point range.

Minnesota shot 48.3 percent (28-for-58), going 4 of 9 (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Badgers were outrebounded 35-33 and committed 12 turnovers. Minnesota had 11 turnovers on six UW steals.

Wisconsin continues Big Ten action on Sunday when it hosts Michigan at the Kohl Center at noon

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