Panthers Fall At South Dakota State, 70-55
Senior Molly O'Brien

Senior Molly O'Brien

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dec. 4, 2005) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team could not overcome a 19-3 second-half run in falling to South Dakota State, 70-55, Sunday afternoon in Brookings, S.D.

UWM (3-4) had trouble with the SDSU (4-2) all day, finishing with 27 turnovers on 18 steals. During the second half, the Panthers went 5:53 without scoring, committing seven turnovers in nine possessions.

"Turnovers have been our Achilles heel. Their defense creates offense for them. With the game on the line, they turned it up and our players didn't respond," head coach Sandy Botham said. "It's a credit to their intensity level. Taking away normal looks that we would get, that we've seen, our players just didn't respond to it. It was definitely the difference of the game."

Freshman Traci Edwards paced the UWM offense, scoring 17 points to go with four rebounds and four blocks. Senior Molly O'Brien was the only other Panther in double-figures with 12 points, while sophomore Meredith Onson chipped in nine points. Four players reached double-digits for State, led by Christina Gilbert's 12, Jennifer Warkenthien with 11 and two more players with 10.

Coming out of halftime trailing by five, the Milwaukee hit its first five shots of the half and took the lead at 39-38 on an Edwards lay-up four minutes in. UWM would not score again until junior Aubrey Hampton drilled a three-pointer from the left side to make it 50-42 with 10:08 to play. The Jacks then scored the next seven points to build a 57-42 lead on a Warkenthien lay-up with 7:10 to go.

"They just turned (their aggressiveness) up and we got back on our heels and didn't respond the way we needed to," Botham said. "They got all the hustle plays, diving for loose balls, grabbing offensive rebounds. They took a timeout, adjusted and got after us harder and we just did not respond."



For the game, UWM outshot its hosts, 42.9 to 36.4 percent to remain in the game, but countered by forcing just 14 turnovers on six steals. SDSU also held the 42-32 advamtage on the boards, including 20 offensive boards.

The Panthers were hot and cold throughout the first half, missing their first seven shots of the game. With the game tied at 5-5, SDSU went on an 8-0 run to make it 13-5 before Milwaukee heated up. UWM five-straight shot attempted, four coming on a 9-0 run, to give the team a 14-13 lead.

O'Brien hit her second-straight lay-up to begin the run. Freshman Katie Fournier the hit a lay-up and freshman Emily Markert hit a jumper from the left wing. Junior Aubrey Hampton capped the run with a three at the 9:31 mark.

"I thought we were moving the ball well, hitting open shots," Botham said. "I thought we did a good job of looking opposite. They fronted Traci well, but I thought we got the ball reversed a little bit more and making them pay for their aggressiveness."

Milwaukee fell behind again, but remained close, taking the lead again at 26-24 when Edwards converted a three-point play with 3:43 to go before the half. Those were the last points of the frame for the Panthers, as the Jacks went on a 7-0 run over the remainder of the period for a 31-26 break at the half.

After its 0-7 slump to open the game, UWM hit on nine of its next 12 attempts before missing its final seven before intermission. The Panthers shot 34.6 in the first half, compared to 37.9 by the home team. SDSU also had the advantage on the boards, 21-15.

Both teams were aggressive on the defensive half early, as the Jackrabbits had 10 first-half steals, leading to 13 Milwaukee turnovers. The Panthers, meanwhile, had six steals and forced 11 miscues in the half.

With the completion of a stretch of three games in five days, the Panthers have a week before hosting Northern Michigan Dec. 11 at the Klotsche Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

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