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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, December 11, 2023

Strong senior play not enough as Wisconsin loses to Huskers

The Badgers (4-10 Big Ten, 8-16 overall) fell 70-63 to Nebraska (8-6, 18-7) Sunday afternoon in Lincoln despite stellar performances from senior forward Jacki Gulczynski and senior guard Nicole Bauman.

Gulczynski made five of her seven field goal attempts, including a perfect 4-4 from 3-point range for 15 points. She also added eight rebounds, two steals and a game-high four blocks.

Bauman, meanwhile, never left the game, pouring in a team-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Wisconsin failed to score at least 70 points for the first time in nearly a month, a mark they had reached in each of their previous seven games. The loss was the Badgers’ seventh in eight games, and moved them into a three-way tie for 10th place in the Big Ten with Illinois and Michigan State.

Scoring droughts and turnovers doomed the Badgers throughout the game, even from tipoff.

The Cornhuskers took a quick 8-0 lead early, forcing two Badger turnovers in their first two possessions. Later in the half, a scoring drought that lasted almost five minutes stretched the Nebraska lead to 13.

Wisconsin didn’t quit, though, and a 10-1 run brought them to within four with under seven minutes to go in the first half.

The Badgers took their first lead of the game on a Gulczynski 3-pointer to make it 29-28, but would let that lead slip away when sophomore Nebraska center Allie Havers scored with just nine seconds left in the half.

Wisconsin regained the lead 34-33 when junior guard Dakota Whyte buried a jump shot, and would hold on to a two-point lead until about 17 minutes remained in the game.

At that point, the Badgers failed to score for over four minutes as they watched the Cornhuskers build up an 11-point cushion, 50-39.

One last time, the Badgers clawed their way back from a big deficit, pulling to within four after freshman guard Cayla McMorris hit a short pull-up jumper.

Another four-minute scoring drought, fueled by five Wisconsin turnovers, pushed the Nebraska lead to 15, and the Cornhuskers never looked back.

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Nebraska capitalized on Wisconsin’s sloppy ball-handling all night, scoring 23 points on 20 forced turnovers. They also dominated the Badgers in the paint, where they outscored Wisconsin 34-20.

The Badgers were miserable from the free throw line, hitting just seven of their thirteen attempts (53.8 percent). Outside of Gulczynski and Bauman, no one could get it going from deep. Those two combined to go 6-7 from range, while the rest of the team went just 2-12. Poor 3-point shooting hurt Wisconsin in the second half, as they shot only 28.6 percent, compared to 50 percent in the first half.

The Badgers will now look ahead to Thursday night, when they will welcome Big Ten-leading Maryland, the No. 5 team in the country, to the Kohl Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. contributed to this report.

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