Despite piecing together a momentum-shifting third quarter and taking a lead, the Badgers (0-8 Big Ten, 5-16 overall) fell to Indiana (5-3, 15-6) Sunday afternoon by a score of 78-54.
A strong first quarter from Indiana made it look as though the Hoosiers would run away with the game from the very start. Wisconsin was not ready to give in after just 10 minutes, though.
The Badgers managed to outscore Indiana 19-15 in the second quarter and tie the game up 39-39 with 7:24 left in the third quarter.
But despite UW’s strong effort in the first three stanzas, the final quarter told a different story. Indiana outscored the Badgers 21-3 as Wisconsin went on a scoring drought that lasted 6:43.
The Hoosiers’ star point guard junior Tyra Buss, who entered Sunday’s contest averaging 19.2 points per game, started hot, scoring eight points in the first quarter, but was then held scoreless in the second and a majority of the third.
Although the offense may have not been present for Buss, she managed to cause all sorts of problems for the UW guards.
“She got up and defended Kendra [Van Leeuwen] and we weren’t able to get in our offense in the fourth quarter,” Wisconsin head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “She understands when they need to run offense, when they can go in transition; she’s the catalyst for them.”
The Badgers ended the game with 17 turnovers, 10 more than Indiana, which led to 20 points on the other end for the Hoosiers.
Buss led the way for IU with 19 points and three assists, while senior guard Alexis Gassion contributed 16 points and six rebounds.
By the end of the second quarter, eight Badgers found their way into the scoring column and were not letting Indiana build a lead larger than 10 points. Once the third quarter got underway, Wisconsin made its run.
Redshirt senior center Kendall Shaw started the Badgers off with an inside post move, followed by a 3-pointer from freshman guard Roichelle Marble that tied the game at 39.
Freshman guard Kendra Van Leeuwen gave Wisconsin its first lead since a 2-0 start with a fancy spin move and finish in the paint.
The Badgers ended the third down six points after Buss split multiple defenders and finished in the lane at the buzzer.
But the fourth quarter was all Indiana. UW’s shots weren’t falling and the Hoosiers kept piling on the offensive rebounds and second chance points.
“For 29 minutes I thought we battled today,” Tsipis said. “We put ourselves in a good position, understanding and watching.”
Leading the offense for Wisconsin was junior guard Cayla McMorris, who finished with 13 points, four rebounds and two assists. Freshmen Courtney Fredrickson and Suzanne Gilreath each finished with nine points.
The Badgers will be back in action Wednesday in Evanston, Ill., at 7 p.m. to take on Northwestern.