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Badgers fall to Minnesota in first round of Big Ten tournament

Game Photo
Wisconsin 6 Minnesota 74, 11 Wisconsin 68 (OT)
2014 Big Ten Tournament
Bankers Life Fieldhouse • Indianapolis • Attendance: 6,124

Box Score  |  Box Score Get    Acrobat  Reader  |  Notes


1st 2nd OT Final
35 26 7 68
21 40 13 74
 Statistical Leaders
 • Michala Johnson: 19 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 9-17 FG
 • Morgan Paige: 16 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 6-18 FG
 • Taylor Wurtz: 13 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Blk, 5-13  FG
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .418 .400
 3-Point FG Percentage .286 .353
 FT Percentage .500 .800
 Offensive Rebounds 12 16
 Defensive Rebounds 26 30
 Total Rebounds 38 46
 Turnovers 17 15
 Assists 18 17
 Steals 5 12
 Blocks 5 7
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March 6, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- The No. 11 seeded Wisconsin women’s basketball team came out firing Thursday night, but the Badgers’ hot start wasn’t enough to sustain UW in a 74-68 overtime loss to No. 6 seed Minnesota in the first round of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Badgers -- who finished the season 10-19 overall -- jumped out to an early 8-2 lead over the No. 6 -seeded Golden Gophers (20-11) with 16:40 left to play in the first half thanks to four straight baskets by Michala Johnson.

 Fast Facts
• Badgers match best first half of season, shooting 58.3%
• Johnson gets double-double with 19 points, 10 boards
• Three players score in double figures for Badgers

Johnson finished with her seventh double-double of the season, pacing the Badgers with 19 points and 10 rebounds. She was one of three UW players in double digits, with Morgan Paige scoring 16 and Taylor Wurtz chipping in 13. Nicole Bauman added nine points, six rebounds and six assists.

Wisconsin capitalized on hot shooting and tough defense to hold a lead the entire first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Bauman and Paige gave the Badgers their first double-digit lead, 33-21, with 48 seconds remaining in the half. In total, UW -- which averaged 5.9 3-pointers per game entering the contest -- scored six baskets from beyond the arc in the first half.

UW closed out the first with a 14-point lead at 35-21. The only larger halftime leads for UW came in the Badgers’ first two games of the season against Drake (18 points) on Nov. 11 and Northern Illinois (15 points) on Nov. 17.

Wisconsin matched its best first-half shooting mark of the season at 53.8 percent -- which UW also recorded at Alabama on Nov. 21 -- and topped 50 percent shooting  in the first half for only the fourth time this season.

In the second half, a nifty pass in transition from Bauman to Johnson gave UW a 16-point lead -- its largest of the game -- with 15:11 remaining, but the Gophers weren’t going down without a fight.

The Badgers twice pushed their lead back to double digits after runs by the Gophers, including a 14-4 spurt midway through the half. Minnesota then exploded on another 14-4 run, and with 55.6 seconds remaining in regulation, Rachel Banham’s 3-pointer tied the game at 61-61.

Wurtz couldn’t connect from beyond the arc with 26 seconds to go, which set up a final-play opportunity for Minnesota. The Gophers gave Banham the last look, but she couldn’t capitalize on the play, sending the game into overtime.

The Gophers, who never led in regulation, got their first lead of the game with 4:12 to go in overtime. A layup by Paige tied it at 63-63 with 3:50 to play, but the Badgers wouldn’t get back in front. Minnesota tallied its largest lead of the game with 1:30 to play in overtime at 68-63.

Bauman hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two (68-66) with 18.2 seconds to play, but Minnesota responded by going 6-for-6 over the final 17 seconds when the Badgers were forced to foul.

“Just very disappointed right now,” UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey said of the loss. “I don’t know if we can really articulate the disappointment we have, but give credit to Minnesota. They fought back and they made some big shots. We had a couple of mental letdowns and that kind of killed us. But it wasn’t for lack of effort.”

“I thought Michala played really well. She battled in there all night, just need a little bit more help.”

UW finished the game shooting 41.8 percent (28-for-67), including 28.6 percent (8-for-28) from beyond the arc. The Gophers shot 28 of 70 (40.0 percent) from the field and 6 of 17 (35.3 percent) from 3-point range.

Minnesota shot 12 of 15 from the free throw line, while the Badgers went to the line just eight times, making four.

Minnesota had four players finish in double figures. The Gophers were led by Banham with 22 points. Amanda Zahui scored 12 points and recorded a career-best 19 rebounds, while Kayla Hirt added 14 points and Stabresa McDaniel logged 10 points.

The Gophers outrebounded Wisconsin 46-38 overall and logged 12 steals to the Badgers’ five takeaways.

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