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Friday, April 12, 2024

Badgers remain winless after third quarter collapse

What began as a promising night for Wisconsin women’s basketball ended up being a crushing loss in front of its home crowd.

Wisconsin (0-3) welcomed the Dayton Flyers (1-2) to the Kohl Center in what truly was a tale of two halves and would eventually result in Dayton snagging its first victory of the season.

“Tonight was going to be somebody’s first win at their new school,” Badgers’ coach Jonathan Tsipis said, congratulating Dayton head coach Shauna Green on her first victory in her new program.

The first half was going the Badgers’ way, as they came out playing with energy and doing all the things necessary that usually lead to victories.

“We changed defenses well, we rebounded well,” Tsipis said.

Wisconsin ended the first half up 29-25 behind junior guard Cayla McMorris and redshirt senior Kendall Shaw.

McMorris tallied eight points and four rebounds, going 2-2 from beyond the arc, while Shaw put up eight points of her own, all while establishing her post presence.

“It’s definitely important and I know I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” said Shaw about her play in the paint.

Rebounds also favored Wisconsin in the first half. The Badgers controlled the glass by out rebounding Dayton 26-18. Both teams managed six assists, however Dayton had an advantage in points off the bench, outscoring the Badgers 12-3, and steals, where they had a 6-1 lead.

Helping Wisconsin in the rebound category were freshmen counterparts Kendra Van Leeuwen with five and Courtney Fredrickson with seven.

Freshman forward Abby Laszewski also got her first minutes of the season in Wednesday’s game and her first points on a rebound put-back.

The second half was a completely different story. Redshirt senior guard Kelley Austria came out scoring 10 of her 13 points within the first three minutes of the quarter for the Flyers. Wisconsin was outscored 31-16 in the third quarter.

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“We had some breakdowns defensively,” said Tsipis. “You can’t give up 31 points in a quarter, I don’t care who you’re playing.”

Wisconsin shot 25 percent (4-for-16) in the third quarter, while Dayton was able to shoot 66.7 percent (12-for-18).

An end-of-shot clock moon ball by freshman guard Gabby Gregory brought Wisconsin within three with 5:18 left in the third. After what looked to be a momentum shifter, Dayton went on a 7-0 run, forcing Tsipis to call a timeout.

Exiting the break, Dayton refused to slow down. The Flyers ended the third quarter up 56-45. After a grueling third, the fourth brought new hope for Wisconsin, which shortly dwindled when junior guard Jenna Burdette decided to get hot.

Burdette tallied 10 points in the fourth, including going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. She finished with 23 points, two rebounds, and six assists.

Redshirt senior forward Avyanna Young discussed the need for the defense to talk on the floor. “I felt like the energy and effort was there we just need to communicate to be able to do the little things,” Young said.

Overall the game wasn’t pretty. Wisconsin ended with 23 turnovers, Dayton with 20. Wisconsin was also called for 20 fouls, while Dayton had the whistle blown on them 27 times.

“It’ll be great to have two days of practice after a well-needed off day for us to get better,” Tsipis said. “We’ll continue to get better and we’ll improve as a team and get ready for Butler on Sunday.”

The final buzzer sounded and the scoreboard showed 83-64, Dayton. The loss brings Wisconsin to 0-3 and the Badgers remain winless under Tsipis.

UW put eight freshmen on the floor throughout the game. A defensive collapse isn’t rare when a team is giving so many minutes to young players, but the upperclassmen should know what they need to do.

“Positivity, they [the freshmen] feed off of us and look up to us,” Young said. “We have to make sure we’re on top of everything so they can follow along.”

Leading the boxscore for the Badgers were McMorris (19 points, six rebounds), Young (16 points, four rebounds), freshman guard Kendra Van Leeuwen (five points, six rebounds, three assists), and freshman forward Courtney Fredrickson (five points, nine rebounds).

The Badgers will remain at home when they face Butler (2-1) this Sunday. Wisconsin will look for the elusive first win in this new, young era beginning at 2 p.m.

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