Minnesota defeated Wisconsin in overtime at the Kohl Center 88-83. With the win, the Gophers are now 1-3 in conference play and and 2-4 for the season. Gadiva Hubbard led all Minnesota scorers with 24 points.
Credit Minnesota for bouncing back against a poor opponent after a string of losses. The Gophers are not yet a good basketball team, and as it stands I find it hard to believe that they will be dancing in March. With that said, there’s no chance of going dancing if you lose to garbage teams like Wisconsin. The Badgers’ are nowhere near the formidable match-up of the men’s version, and Minnesota was able to score consistently throughout the first half. The Gophers had a 41-30 lead at halftime, mostly thanks to an excellent first half from Sara Scalia. Scalia finished with 11 points, but played almost none of the second half, likely due to an injury.
In the second half, the Gophers continued a troubling pattern under Lindsay Whalen by allowing Wisconsin to cut into the lead and then come back to tie by the 4 minute mark of the fourth quarter. On the one hand, the current iteration of the Gophers is not that talented. On the other hand, the late collapses are becoming far too frequent under Whalen. One hopes for a killer instinct as a New Year’s Resolution.
Fortunately in overtime, the Gophers returned to some crisp passing to set up open shots like this play.
Then, with the game still close, Wisconsin decided to pull a Chris Webber and call a timeout that they did not possess. Minnesota made the resulting free throws and from then on the game was never in doubt. The Badgers made a last second three pointer to cut the final lead to 5.
The Gophers continue their road trip on Wednesday at Iowa.