4 straight B10 wins for Wisconsin Women

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Wisconsin is turning it around at the right time.

After starting the Big Ten season with a 1-6 record, the Badgers pulled to 8-8 in the league by edging Minnesota 59-57 for their fourth straight win and fifth in six games.

Wisconsin (15-11 overall) survived when Emily Fox missed a 12-foot jumper with two seconds remaining, the Gophers' 17th consecutive missed shot to end the game. Minnesota went the final 12:18 without a field goal to lose for just the third time in 14 home games at Williams Arena.

"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," said Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone, acknowledging the Badgers' late-season success and perhaps touching on a rare final rush by her team.

It was just the third time this season the Badgers have won a game decided by six points or fewer. They've lost five of those games.

"Our coaching staff believes in us," said Jolene Anderson, who led Wisconsin with 21 points. "I knew if it got to a close game that our team would come together and eventually pull one out."

Minnesota (18-10, 9-7) failed for the second straight game to pick up career win No. 200 for coach Pam Borton, who wanted Fox to drive to the basket on the game's last play with hopes of picking up a foul.

"You live for moments like that, and it really hurts when it doesn't go in," said Fox, who led all scorers with 28 points.

"It should never have gotten to that point," she said.

The Gophers built a 51-44 lead with 7:46 remaining, making seven-of-eight free throws to wipe out Wisconsin's four-point advantage. But in the middle of that stretch, the Gophers' shots failed to fall, and the Badgers went on an crucial 11-2 run to take the lead for good at 57-55 on an awkward hook shot by Danielle Ward with 2:48 remaining.

"When you're scoring, you got more pop in your step, your defense is better, there's less urgency," said Stone. "Our defense right now is something our team really believes in."

Anderson and Fox were the only players in the game to score in double figures. The Badgers won despite turning the ball over 22 times, while the Gophers got miserable shooting performances from Leslie Knight, Ashley Ellis-Milan and Brittany McCoy, who were a combined three-for-25 from the floor. McCoy compounded her oh-for-6 shooting with five turnovers.

Mariah Dunham hit a 3-point basket with 3:57 remaining in regulation to put the Badgers ahead 55-53, their first lead since early in the second half. Fox made four straight foul shots for a 55-55 tie when Ward made her shot from the lane for the game's final lead change.

The loss drops Minnesota into a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten with Michigan State. The Gophers end the season with a home game Thursday against Indiana before traveling to Michigan on March 2. Wisconsin plays at Michigan on Thursday and closes at home against Iowa on March 2. The Big Ten tournament starts March 6 in Indianapolis.

With the win, Wisconsin takes a 30-29 overall lead in the all-time series against its border rival.


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