Badgers Pull Away From Panthers In Season Opener
Nov. 14, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team could not build on a solid first-half effort in its season opener, allowing the University of Wisconsin to pull away after halftime in recording an 85-60 victory Thursday night at the Klotsche Center.
The Panthers (0-1) battled the Badgers (2-0) tightly through the first 25 minutes of the contest, but a 16-2 scoring run by the visitors decided the contest.
"I thought we came out in the first half and did everything that we had in our game plan," UWM head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "We attacked them first and really had the energy that we needed to win the game in the first half. I believe it was a tale of two halves - if we can consistently play like we did in the first half, we have a chance to really make a run in our conference this year. If we play like we did in the second half, it could be a really long season."
"This is a growing game for us - it was our first game of the season," Rechlicz said. "I thought that it was excellent that we were able to get some really good minutes from our freshmen and see them really step up in big situations. And Angela was Angela. She played another great game for us and really led us at the point guard position. The ball is going to be in her hands a lot this year, so we need her to continue to step up."
Five players netted double-figures for Wisconsin, led by 21 from Michala Johnson and a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds by Jacki Gulczynski. Taylor Wurtz also had a double-double for the Badgers, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Christina Wakeman also had a solid debut for UWM, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes of playing time.
The Panthers came out of the gates strong, scoring the first five points and nine of the first 11 to lead, 9-2, on a layup by sophomore Avyanna Young at the 16:02 mark.
Back-and-forth for a bit, the Panthers still held a 14-7 lead on a three-pointer by Warren at the 13:13 mark before the Badgers would turn the tide. Eight points in a row as part of a 12-2 scoring run gave UW its first lead, which it built to a 19-16 cushion on a Johnson hoop with just over five minutes to play in the first half.
The Panthers found themselves down by six at 28-22, but scored six in a row to tie it up before a UW three at the buzzer gave the visitors a 32-28 lead at the break. After trading baskets for the first five minutes of the second half, Wisconsin started its decisive run courtesy of three-straight possessions that each netted three points. A pair of and-one shots with a three pointer in between started the surge and it was all Wisconsin from there. The lead grew to 18 after the run and UWM could get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
For the game, Milwaukee shot 33.3 percent from the floor and never got its potent three-point attack going. The team made just 3-of-16 attempts from long range, but held its own on the boards with UW holding a slim 52-46 edge. The Badgers finished at 45.2 percent from the floor for the contest.
Junior Janna Swopshire chipped in with six points and six rebounds for UWM, with Young contributing eight points and a team-high nine rebounds. The third freshman on the roster, Sydney Snower, had three points and two rebounds as well.
The Panthers remain at home, welcoming Western Illinois to the Klotsche Center Sunday. Tip time is set for 2 p.m.