The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team played a solid four quarters away from the Kohl Center Wednesday night to defeat the Minnesota Golden Gophers, earning the team its first victory since Jan. 4. Wisconsin withstood multiple runs from the home team and pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure its double-digit win, 72–62.
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The Badgers (10-9, 2-6 Big Ten) stumbled through the month of January before Wednesday night’s bout with the Gophers, losing four straight and six of seven games before the win — one which can only be labeled an upset given both squads’ recent form. Minnesota (12-7, 2-6) kept the game close until the third quarter but failed to keep up with Wisconsin late.
Wisconsin’s win also snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Golden Gophers and a 15-game losing streak in conference road games, as forward Imani Lewis led the team to victory with a 23 point, 16 rebound double-double performance.
Wisconsin shot over 75% from the free-throw line and outrebounded Minnesota 41–36 for the game. The first quarter was marked by efficient paint production and transition defense, putting the Badgers ahead 20–14 after the first ten minutes of play.
Despite the early success, Minnesota took the lead in the second quarter with solid three-point shooting. The Gophers knocked down seven threes to the Badgers’ two, and used the disparity to close the gap early on. Wisconsin also allowed 19 offensive rebounds, creating second shot opportunities for Minnesota, which led 37–34 at the break.
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Halftime adjustments proved to be the turning point of Wednesday’s game in Minneapolis, especially on the defensive end. The Badgers conceded only eight points in the third quarter, going on a 12–2 run late in the period to put the game away. Despite poor shooting from deep, Wisconsin was relatively efficient in the paint, as Abby Laszewski and Imani Lewis iced the game down low.
The upset victory will hopefully create a spark for the Badgers as they continue to trudge through the Big Ten slate. With the conference tournament just over a month away, the pressure to find a consistent rhythm is mounting. While the NCAA Tournament is certainly a stretch proposition, success this season ought to be measured by the quality of play as the season enters crunch time.
The Badgers will return home to face Nebraska Saturday. Tip-off is at 11 a.m.