After falling to 0-4 in Big Ten play over winter break, the Badgers had a chance to salvage their sinking ship of a Big Ten record against a weak program. Instead, Wisconsin (0-5 Big Ten, 5-13 overall) sunk to a 30-point loss at the hands of Penn State (2-4, 12-6) and squandered a chance to finally add its first Big Ten win under head coach Jonathan Tsipis.
After ending the first quarter tied at 18, the Badgers only managed 28 points over the next three quarters while the Nittany Lions ran up scoring quarters of 18, 22 and 18 points to prevail, 76-46, at home.
The Badgers to slack on both ends of the court during this losing streak, allowing an average of 76.8 points per game but only scoring 54.2 points each contest. The offense has failed to score and keep up with the opposition, which has poured it on against the porous Badger defense. Problems on both ends of the courts have their respective impacts, but often bleed into each other and compound Wisconsin’s problems.
Junior guard Cayla McMorris was the only Badger in double figures Monday, as she recorded 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. While the guard did her part, she was only one of three players to make two or more field goals—all three players were starters, and the Badgers can’t win without contributions from their bench. Freshman guard Suzanne Gilreath and redshirt sophomore guard Ashley Kelsick went a combined 2-of-17 from the field, including a paltry 1-of-12 from beyond the arc, an area both excel in.
Penn State got the looks it wanted on offense, as four Nittany Lion players finished in double-digit points, including 17 points from senior guard Lindsey Spann off the bench. The Badgers allowed the Nittany Lions to shoot 18 free throw attempts and shoot 24 3-pointers.
Redshirt senior forward Avyanna Young—who returned to play three games ago—was inserted back into the starting lineup after coming off the bench the last three games. The forward hit three of her five field goal attempts for a 7-point, 7-rebound performance in just 20 minutes.
With Young returning to the starting lineup, coach Tsipis may finally be settling on a consistent starting lineup, providing stability for the team which has featured eight different players in the starting rotation already this season. Still, the Badgers suffered the worst loss of their losing streak Monday night, and with conference heavyweights Ohio State and Michigan State on the docket the next two games, Wisconsin may struggle to claw their way back to winning ways.