Wisconsin loses to Purdue 57-35, needs improvement in the new year

Courtney Fredrickson tied a career-high with 18 points and set a career-high with 14 rebounds, but UW still fell to Minnesota.

Courtney Fredrickson tied a career-high with 18 points and set a career-high with 14 rebounds, but UW still fell to Minnesota.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

As the final horn rang in Mackey Arena, the University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s basketball team (0-2 Big Ten, 7-8 overall) walked off the floor with a dismal 57-35 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers (1-1, 10-6) — along with a whole new list chocked full of New Year’s resolutions as they head into 2018.

Improvements in offensive execution, overcoming scoring lapses, taking care of the ball and transition defense are at the top of the agenda for the Badgers, as the team looks on toward the second half of their season. A strong fourth quarter masked UW’s shooting woes for the game, but the team still only mustered out a 16-for-50 shooting performance. Wisconsin had trouble handling the ball, coughing up 20 turnovers resulting in 19 Boilermaker points. And on the defensive end, the Badgers seemed incapable of stopping Purdue.

Wisconsin trotted out a new-look starting lineup in its New Year’s Eve matinee, starting sophomore forward Courtney Fredrickson and redshirt junior guard Roichelle Marble. Wisconsin was without the services of star senior guard and leading scorer Cayla McMorris, who did not make the trip with the team down to West Lafayette. The Badgers certainly missed her dynamic scoring and playmaking skills in their second conference loss.

UW started out strong, jumping out to an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter, but, unfortunately for Wisconsin, that was the best the night got. The Boilermakers responded by going on a 41-4 run that spanned all the way into the middle of the third quarter. UW was outscored 19-2 in the second period and 20-9 in the third. A Suzanne Gilreath 3-pointer ended the Purdue run, but the damage had already been done as the Badgers found themselves down by 30 points. It was smooth sailing for Purdue all night.

Wisconsin head coach Jonathan Tsipis was not too pleased with the performance of his team, as he made quick pulls and substitutions to find any lineup that could get the Badgers back into the game.

Sophomore forward Abby Laszweski and Fredrickson led UW in scoring, as the duo each posted 12 points. The Purdue defense kept junior forward Marsha Howard in check, limiting her to just six points and a game-high five turnovers. Gilreath, a usual spark off the bench, was held to just five points on 1-of-6 shooting from the three-point line.

The Boilermakers actually did not shoot the ball well themselves, only converting on 36.7 percent of their field goal attempts as a team. However, Purdue employed a balanced attack to counteract their shooting deficiencies, as they were led by sophomore guard Dominique Oden, who paced the Boilermakers in scoring with 15 points and shot 4-of-8 from the three-point line. Other notable contributors for Purdue include sophomore guards Andreona Keys and Lamina Cooper, who paced Purdue with 10 points apiece.

This game was an obvious setback for UW as it fell below .500 and still hasn’t won a conference game. Wisconsin must improve fast, as the Badgers are about to enter the full-might of its conference schedule in 2018. The Badgers open up the new year with a home game against the Michigan Wolverines Jan. 4 at the Kohl Center at 7 p.m.

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