Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Big Game 1-26-12: Badgers Embarrass Gophers

You can read my pre-game comments below if you want. But basically I said, don't let Taylor Wurtz go nuts, and somebody's gotta step up and help Rachel Banham.

It didn't happen.

Especially over the game's 2nd 5 minutes, from the 15:00 mark to the 10:00 mark. Wisconsin led 9-6 at 15:00. At 10:00 it was 31-15. 22 points in 5 minutes. That's a 176 point pace. The Badgers hit 8-of-10 shots, and Wurtz made 3 (2 of them from 3-point range) and assisted on 3 more. I think you could say she went nuts.

Meanwhile, Banham scored twice--a bucket and 2 FT. Leah Cotton scored once. Kionna Kellogg scored one possession on a pair of FT, but missed on a pair of FG attempts. Their teammates were 0-for-4 with a pair of turnovers. Overall: 2-for-9.

8-for-10. 2-for-9. Game over.

Minnesota got within 44-39 with 17 minutes to go in the 2nd half, but again self-destructed. Wisconsin got 2 fast-break baskets, one off a steal/turnover, and then a third, and it was 50-39 before the Gophers could score again. After that, the closest they got was the final score, 78-72.

Wisconsin shot about 50 percent in each half. The back-breaker was 7-of-11 3s in the 1st half, several by Wurtz who led all scorers before intermission with 13 points.

But while Wurtz went nuts, I guess you could say that somebody stepped up to help Banham. Banham led Minnesota with 19 points. Katie Loberg added 15 and Kionna Kellogg 10 plus 13 boards.

But as noted below, Wisconsin has been a bad shooting team, has gotten out-rebounded on average, and has given up 3 more turnovers per game than their opponents. Nothin' like a game at Minnesota to cure what ails ya.

The Gophers remain tied for 7th, but now with both Iowa and Wisconsin at 3-5. They have lost 4 of 5 since a modest 2 game winning streak.

Sorry, no player or coach of the day today.

Pre-Game Analysis

The Wisconsin Badgers and new head coach Bobby Kelsey, formerly a Stanford assistant, come to Williams Arena Thursday night. 2010 Ms. Minnesota Basketball Cassie Rochel is part of the entourage, too. She's been coming off the bench for 14 minutes a night, and contributing 4 points and 4 boards on 53 percent shooting.

Wisconsin is of course but 6-13. They're a lousy shooting team at 39 percent--their opponents shoot 44 percent. They're getting out-rebounded 34-33 and they're giving up 3 more steals and committing 3 more turnovers than their opponents.

Along with Rochel, Anne Marie Brown of St. Peter is also a Badger. She plays but 5 minutes and averages 1 point on 16 percent FG shooting.

This one is there for the taking. It's just a matter of slowing down senior forward Taylor Wurtz, the only Badger scoring in double figures at 15, with 8 boards, on 40 percent shooting, and then of somebody stepping up to help out Rachel Banham on the offensive end.

It says here: Minnesota 68 Wisconsin 57.

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