WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Badgers couldn’t overcome the 21st-ranked Purdue women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Boilermakers 72-54 at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.
Wisconsin dropped its sixth-straight game, its longest losing streak of the season, and falls to 3-12 in Big Ten Conference play (10-17 overall). Purdue improves to 10-5 in Big Ten action (20-7 overall).
“They’re a great team,” said UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey. “They’re going to keep pushing it.”
“They have a lot of fire power,” Kelsey continued. “They have a lot of kids that can score and they have some post players that really if you don’t put a body on them, they’ll knock you out of the paint and keep on moving. They have a nice team. They have a lot of pieces over there and we don’t quite match up very well with them.”
The Boilermakers jumped out to a 14-3 lead early (14:41), but a layup by Dakota White capped off an 11-2 run by the Badgers to cut Purdue’s lead to two (16-14) with 9:34 left in the first.
Purdue responded with makes of its own on the other end, but a jump shot by Nicole Bauman cut the Boilermakers lead back to three (21-18). A 3-pointer by Morgan Paige and a layup by Taylor Wurtz tied up the game 23-23 with 1:41 to play in the first.
Purdue’s April Wilson countered with a 3-pointer of her own and the Boilermakers closed with a 29-25 lead at the half.
Michala Johnson opened up the second half with a layup to pull UW within two points.
Johnson hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 31-29 with 18:25 left in regulation, but the Badgers would get no closer. Purdue stormed on a 21-3 run to expand their lead to a game-high 20 points, 52-32, with 12:39 remaining.
“They did a nice job of penetrating and pitching,” said Kelsey. “They found their post players in there. Their guards went to the rim as well. We kept getting beat on the in-out dribble and just fell for it every time. They’d do a baseline pass or get a layup, so we have to a better job with one-on-one defense. We didn’t do a very good job with that tonight. “
The Badgers used back-to-back 3-pointers from Tessa Cichy and Wurtz to propel a strong 20-8 run of their own to cut Purdue’s lead to single digits, 60-52, with 6:29 left to play.
But the Boilermakers countered with a 7-1 run to take a 67-52 lead with 2:49 remaining. Wisconsin couldn’t capitalize on final opportunities and a last-second layup by Massey Joslyn sealed Purdue’s 72-54 victory.
“We pressed,” Kelsey said. “We hit some shots, had some and-1s and some put-backs. It’s all a blur sometimes, I’ll have to go back and watch it, but when you get in that big of a hole it’s hard to fight your way out of it and have something left to end the game.”
UW shot 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the field, while the Boilermakers closed with a 44.3 field goal percentage (27-of-61). Wisconsin made a near season-low four 3-pointers on 23.5 percent shooting beyond the arc (4-of-17). Purdue finished 42.9 percent from 3-point range, converting 6-of-14 shots.
The Badgers went to the line 18 times, making 12 (66.7 percent), while the Boilermakers made 12-of-17 (70.6 percent).
Purdue posted a dominating performance around the basket, outrebounding Wisconsin 41-33 and outscoring the Badgers 34-24 in the paint.
Two Badgers scored in double figures, led by Johnson’s game-high 18 points. Johnson made 7-of-14 from the field and pulled in nine rebounds. Wurtz recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Cichy contributed seven points in 13 minutes of action, while Whyte chipped in six points and Bauman added five points and four assists.
Purdue finished with three players in double-digits. Wilson shared game-high honors with Johnson, scoring 18 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and dished out eight assists. Whitney Bayes added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Liza Clemons closed out the Boilermakers double-figure scorers with 10 points.
The Badgers return to the Kohl Center for their final home game of the season on March 2 for a 1 p.m. tip against Northwestern. The Badgers will honor seniors Daria Kryuchkova, Paige and Wurtz in post-game ceremonies.