Women’s basketball loses sixth straight to Wisconsin

Kionna Kellogg had a double-double, but Minnesota fell 78-72.

Kionna Kellogg goes up for the rebound against the Wisoncon Badgers Thursday night in Williams Arena.

Erin Westover

Kionna Kellogg goes up for the rebound against the Wisoncon Badgers Thursday night in Williams Arena.

Betsy Helfand

A common theme with the women’s basketball team this year has been a lack of balanced scoring. Guards Rachel Banham and Kiara Buford have carried the load for Minnesota on offense all season long.

On Thursday, the Gophers had three players in double digits, led by Kionna Kellogg’s double-double, but fell short defensively as Wisconsin defeated them 78-72 at Williams Arena.

Minnesota (11-11, 3-5 Big Ten) fell behind early into the game and never regained a lead.

“I think the way we started the game and the way we played really set the tone for the rest of the game; it felt like we were digging ourselves out of a hole for the entire game tonight,” head coach Pam Borton said.

Three-point scoring helped the Badgers (7-13, 3-5 Big Ten) build a sizable lead; as a team, they shot 7-for-11 from behind the three-point arc in the first half.

On Tuesday, Borton noted Wisconsin’s guard versatility and just two days later, she experienced it firsthand.

Guards Taylor Wurtz and Morgan Paige each scored 18 points for the Badgers and Wurtz added 10 rebounds. Forward Anya Covington led all Wisconsin scorers with 19 points.

“[It was a] poor defensive effort by us tonight, giving up 78 points in our home gym and getting outrebounded [36-35],” Borton said.

Down 41-32 at halftime, the Gophers mounted a few short runs during the last stretch of the game but were never able to pull together a strong enough team effort to diminish Wisconsin’s lead.

A defensive rebound by Kellogg and a layup by Brianna Mastey with 3:27 left in the second half pulled the score to 67-62, which capped off a 7-0 Minnesota run. But a Wisconsin timeout halted the momentum.

Kellogg had 10 points and 13 rebounds starting in place of Jackie Voigt, who sat out with a concussion.

Banham scored 19 points and Katie Loberg added 15, but Minnesota was not able to jive offensively through the game.

“Offensively, I felt like we were not into a flow, not into a rhythm out there with a lot of quick shots, a lot of untimely shots, and a lot of bad shots that are not in our skill set instead of playing together as a team,” Borton said.

Minnesota is now 29-35 all time against Wisconsin. The Gophers have not beaten the Badgers in Minneapolis since Jan. 7, 2007.

The Gophers will host No. 9 Ohio State on Sunday at noon.