On Wednesday night, Wisconsin women’s basketball (3-12 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) hosted conference, and border, rival Minnesota in desperate need of a win. Despite eclipsing the 20-point mark in three out of four quarters, the Badgers failed to secure a victory, falling 82-66. This marks the third consecutive loss for Wisconsin and eighth in their last nine games.
This team has struggled in the first quarter all year long, and Wednesday night was more of the same.
UW labored to keep the Golden Gophers away from the rim, as they put up 27 first quarter points, tied for the second most points the Badgers have allowed in a quarter all season. Minnesota’s offensive clinic featured a 9-0 run as well as a 5-0 run at different points throughout the quarter. Following the 9-0 run, UW responded by having four different players hit a three pointer on four consecutive possessions (Halle Douglass, Krystyna Ellew, Julie Pospisilova, Katie Nelson) to keep themselves in the game.
If you pull out a dictionary and look up the word “opposite”, you’ll see a picture of the first quarter on one side, and a picture of the second quarter on the other side. The first quarter saw Wisconsin and Minnesota combine for 48 points, whereas there was a total of 13 points scored in the second quarter.
Of the 13 points scored, the Badgers scored five, their lowest point total in a single quarter this season. That being said, the eight points scored by the Golden Gophers is tied for the lowest point total allowed by UW in a quarter this season.
The second was a huge missed opportunity by the Badgers to crawl back into this game. If you allow eight points in a quarter, I’m sure that an overwhelmingly large percentage of the time, you win the quarter. Not the Badgers. Minnesota led by nine at the break.
The Badgers made their run in the third quarter. After falling behind 44-30 midway through the third quarter, a 10-1 run sparked by Ellew brought Marisa Moseley’s team within five points. However, the balanced attack by the Golden Gophers proved too much for the Badgers, as they were unable to get over the hump. Minnesota quickly extended their lead back to nine, as the Badgers were unable to make up any ground in the third.
Minnesota opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run powered by junior sharp-shooter Sara Scalia, extending their lead to 16. That was all she wrote. Moseley kept her starters on the floor for the fourth quarter, letting them play through the adversity. They drew as close as 11 points, but were unable to make any sort of run to make this a contest again.
Minnesota took the road win, 82-66.
Despite the loss, Moseley remained rather optimistic in her post game interview: “I’m really proud of my teams’ effort tonight as we competed for 40 minutes. I challenged them the last couple of days after our Illinois game to try to put together a more complete game, and you could see that with everybody in the team putting forth their best effort.”
The stat-sheet looked just how one would expect it to. Ellew led the Badgers with 19 points and six rebounds, Pospisilova added 18/5/4 and Nelson played all 40 minutes. She currently leads the Big Ten in minutes per game. Douglass tied a career high with 12 points.
As a team, the Badgers lost nearly every statistical battle. Minnesota out-rebounded the Badgers by a significant margin (37-29), compiled more assists (18-13) and shot nearly 10% better from the field.
For the third consecutive game and fifth consecutive Big Ten matchup, the Badgers lost by double digits. They are now 0-5 in conference play, including a 21 point loss to Illinois, one of the worst teams in the conference.
The Badgers are in desperate need of a conference win, or they could be looking at a winless conference season. Their next, and potentially best, shot at a win comes on the road at Rutgers, the only other Big Ten team without a conference win.