In another conference matchup for the Wisconsin Badgers (5-15, 2-8) they lost a heartbreaking game to the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-12, 3-7 Big Ten), 57-55 on Sunday.

Both squads struggled early on, combining for 24 total points in the opening quarter with three lead changes. University of Wisconsin executed on three looks from downtown, but despite a 28.57% efficiency from the field in the opening frame from Minnesota, UW only led by one score.

Within the first six minutes of the second quarter, the two Big Ten foes traded blows, totaling five lead changes and three ties. The Golden Gophers established a five-point advantage after Sara Scalia hit a layup, but Halle Douglass responded with a shot of her own to bring the Badgers within three points at halftime.

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Minnesota kicked off the third quarter with a 6-0 scoring run and held the Badgers scoreless over a three-minute stretch, which extended their lead to nine. Wisconsin flipped the script, storming back with eight unanswered points until Scalia hit a long-range jumper. The Badgers ended the frame down four, riding the much-needed momentum into crunch time.

Again, the two groups traded blows until 120 ticks remained on the game clock. With a jumper and three free throws, the Badgers tied the game at 54 for the first time in over two quarters of play.

Deja Winters, Minnesota’s star defensive presence, cashed in on three consecutive attempts from the charity stripe after Julia Pospíšilová committed a personal foul in the act of shooting. After sophomore Brooke Schramek missed on a lefty layup at the buzzer, Golden Gopher fans could finally utter a sigh of relief.

Minnesota’s sharp free throw shooting, excellent offensive contribution from the bench unit and extra second chance opportunities bridged the gap between a victory and loss.

The Golden Gophers earned 20 points in the paint and 11 points off giveaways. Whalen’s squad also snagged 38 boards — six more than UW. With only 34.5% shooting from the floor and 25% from 3-point range, Minnesota handed Wisconsin its 15th loss on the year.

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Badger guard Julia Pospíšilová poured in four field goals for 12 total points, grabbed four boards and grabbed two loose balls, but shot poorly with just 22.2% efficiency. In her 39 minutes of action, junior Sydney Hilliard added 14 tallies, three assists and five rebounds. Brooke Schramek racked up 14 points and registered a perfect 3-3 effort from the charity stripe over 29 minutes.

For Minnesota, Sara Scalia, a 2021 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, punched in six field goals for 16 points and snared seven boards in 39 minutes on the hardwood.

Off the bench, Laura Bagwell Katalinich added 10 points. Her teammate Godiva Hubbard flirted with a triple-double, managing 10 points, nine rebounds and an impressive seven dimes in 35 minutes of action.

Looking ahead, the Badgers face off next against the Iowa Hawkeyes Feb. 3 in Madison.