MADISON—Jordan Wilson was the star of the day as Wisconsin women's basketball team defeated Minnesota State-Moorhead 74-64 Sunday at the Kohl Center in the Badgers' exhibition finale.
The junior forward had a game-high 19 points, including six of Wisconsin's first eight. She did have some help, primarily from freshman guard Jolene Anderson, who, with her 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, has solidified herself as one of the Badgers best players heading into the regular season, which begins Friday at the Kohl Center against IUPUI.
Wisconsin and Moorhead played a tight first half, minus a Wisconsin spurt in which the Badgers enjoyed a nine-point lead. The Badgers entered the locker room at the break with a not-so-comfortable 35-33 lead over the Dragons.
Wisconsin exploded early in the second half, leading off with a 3-pointer from Anderson and separating itself from Moorhead, which was no longer hot on Wisconsin's trail.
"I think we stepped up our defense a lot," Wilson said. "This game, we were a lot better on defensive transitions and … the communication picked up. We all knew who had each other's backs on help and I thought we were rotating a lot better."
"I just think that we executed our offense way better than the first half. We were more patient on offense," said freshman guard Akiya Alexander, who finished with seven points, two rebounds and an alarming four personal fouls.
The Badgers built up a 25-point lead midway through the second half, but the Dragons whittled it away on 3-pointers and free throw shots. MSM was 18 of 22 from the charity stripe but Wisconsin was a paltry 7-for-13, exposing one of the team's weaknesses that UW coach Lisa Stone is hoping to correct during this week.
"We're shooting 53 percent from the free-throw line. I'm not happy about that," Stone said. "The good thing is, these statistics don't count. We're going to start fresh on Friday and hopefully start with an 80 percent clip. Our team is shooting free throws again, as they did last week."
Although Wisconsin was out-rebounded 44-33 and racked up 17 personal fouls to MSM's 10, the most significant statistic worked out in the Badgers' favor. The Dragons committed 21 turnovers to Wisconsin's nine. The Badgers took advantage of MSM's carelessness with the ball and scored 22 points off of turnovers. MSM, meanwhile, had only three points off Wisconsin's turnovers.
"Nine turnovers was impressive," Stone said. "Twenty-three last week, nine this week. I told the team at halftime that it wasn't that we were necessarily taking great care of the ball. We were bringing the ball down and taking one shot, so a missed shot doesn't count as a turnover. Our impatience a little bit offensively got better in the second half, we did a decent job taking care of the ball, came away with a win—but again, much to work on."
Women's basketball tops Moorhead in exhibition
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