Women’s basketball: Second-half rally pushes Gators past Badgers

first_imgOn a night that saw senior Nicole Bauman eclipse the 900 career points mark, Wisconsin (3-5) fell to Florida (8-1) 91-75 in a rematch of last year’s thriller.After the Badgers stole a game on the road last season against the Gators, the visiting team made an effort to get revenge Thursday night at the Kohl Center.“We’ve got a team with five seniors and a lot of kids that were a part of that disappointment last year,” Florida head coach Amanda Butler said. “I’m sure they were having a lot of conversations about disappointment and the way they felt last year.”But despite the loss, Wisconsin showed signs of improvement from their recent five-game road trip.The Badgers rode Bauman’s hot shooting, who led the Badgers with 19 points. Her hot start to the game led to a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Gators were able to fight their way back into the game and were only down by one going into the half.Coming out of the break though, things went south for the Badgers. The Gators were able to assert their full-court pressure and force 12 turnovers in the second half, which led to 26 Gator points. Florida had 10 different players log double digit minutes and their depth caused problems all night for Wisconsin.“They’re deep, as you can see … everybody else played double-digit minutes,” Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. “It’s tough. Two of their substitutes had 20 and 18 points. They have a lot of guards that can do certain things. If it’s not one kid, somebody else gets going.”Florida was able to use that depth to force the Badgers into some awkward offensive possessions and eventually build a double digit lead.At that point, it appeared that Wisconsin was simply out of energy, but the players still said otherwise.“I don’t necessarily think that we got tired, I think our conditioning is pretty good,” senior Dakota Whyte said. “But when you waste energy doing things you might not need to do, like running around people when you should be in the gap — that’s what our defense is supposed to do — that maybe just wasted energy and wasted movement just being inefficient.”Despite Wisconsin’s lack of depth, Whyte had an outstanding performance tallying 18 points and only one turnover. She was able to efficiently gash the Florida defense, resulting in the most points the Gators have given up in the first half all season.But the Badger backcourt was not enough to offset the onslaught of offensive weapons at Florida’s disposal. Three different Gators had 18 points or more and their consistent rotation of bench players kept them fresh throughout the game.In the end, the Badgers provided a good showing, but were not deep enough to deal with the length and athleticism Florida threw at them throughout the game.last_img