BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After getting outscored 40-28 in the first half, the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team couldn't come back in the second, falling to Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., 76-69, on Saturday afternoon. The Badgers cut the lead to six (68-62) with 3:17 to play but could get no closer.
"We only lost by seven points, so it's just disappointing. You have to every week, every game, come out with energy and passion," said UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey. "When we play a first half like that and we don't carry through the whole game, you can't expect to win. If we did, we'd be getting off easy. We have to put 40 minutes together. We didn't do that."
Following the loss, Wisconsin falls to 3-8 in Big Ten Conference play (10-13 overall) and Indiana improves to 4-6 (17-6).
The Badgers jumped out to an eight-point (15-7) lead with 12:44 to play in the first half, but they couldn't keep their momentum going. The Hoosiers stormed back with an 11-0 run to take an 18-15 lead with 10:20 to play. Indiana kept up their hot shooting and tough defense, running out to a 40-28 lead at the half.
Indiana opened the second half with a 10-4 run to go up 50-32, recording their largest lead of the game (18 points) with 14:52 left to play.
"Credit Indiana. They hit big shots, they got big rebounds," said Kesley.
But the Badgers pressured the Hoosiers to make a large run of their own and cut the deficit to only seven points. A layup by Taylor Wurtz closed out a 14-3 run by UW to cut Indiana's lead to 53-46 with 11:11 left in regulation.
After trading baskets, the Badgers pulled within six with 3:17 remaining thanks to a jump shot from Paige, but missed opportunities wouldn't let them get any closer.
"The press helped us. We got some steals. We got some turnovers. We got to the foul line, but missed too many free throws, so you've got to take the ‘give me' points. The free throws and you've got to rebound and finish," said Kelsey.
The Badgers snapped their three-game streak of shooting over 40 percent, making 23-of-59 (39.0 percent) and converting 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers shot 26-of-64 (40.6 percent) and hit 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Wisconsin grabbed 40 rebounds, while Indiana pulled in 41 rebounds, but thanks to second chance opportunities, the Hoosiers dominated the Badgers in the paint, outscoring UW 40-28.
UW got to the line 26 times, making 18 for 69.2 percent, while Indiana went to the line 25 times, making 18 for 72.0 percent.
Three of IU's starters finished the game in double figures, led by Larryn Brooks 22 points. The guard went 7-for-19 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Simone Deloach recorded a double-double for the Hoosiers with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Alexis Gassion had 14 points and six rebounds.
Despite the slow start, the Badgers also had three players score in double-digits behind a team-high 21 points from Michala Johnson. It was Johnson's fourth-straight 20-point game. Paige contributed 20 points to the Badgers, 18 of which came in the second half. Wurtz recorded her seventh double-double of the season and her third straight with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"That's very positive. There were some positive things. I'm not trying to be all negative but we lost the game so the things we can control we did not," said Kelsey. "The other team took advantage of some of the stuff we didn't do well and we didn't take advantage of things that they didn't do well enough."
Wisconsin returns home on Wednesday to host Minnesota in a Border Battle. Tip time is 7 p.m. from the Kohl Center.
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