Wisconsin (6-8 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) started the game with a four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought, missing seven shots. Minnesota led 15-7 but then went on its own five-minute scoring drought, during which star junior forward Jamie Broback suffered an injury that kept her out of the rest of the half and limited her to seven minutes in the second half.
Wisconsin scored 14 unanswered points during this time and held a 21-15 lead with about six minutes left in the half. Gopher senior guard Shannon Schonrock scored one of her four 3-pointers to help Minnesota (9-2, 2-0) regain a 22-21 lead with about three minutes left. The Badgers entered the locker room at the half down by just three, 29-26.
Minnesota junior guard Kelly Roysland tied a career-high 19 points and added seven rebounds, while junior center Liz Podominick scored 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Schonrock added 12 points.
"With the absence of Jamie, we kept shifting people in to mix things up," Gopher coach Pam Borton said. "We wanted someone to step up and have a little more sense of urgency. We did not attack the basket and we allowed them to get back into the game. We went on a run, but then would relax on defense. We did not put Wisconsin away when we should have. We played with little effort and no hustle."
In the second half, Wisconsin came as close as four points, taking advantage of another Minnesota scoring drought at the end of the game. Wisconsin was down 71-67 with seven seconds left but Minnesota sank its two final free throws to give the Gophers the win.
"The team rallied together," Anderson said. "We knew we had to get stops on defense and capitalize on their turnovers. We communicated more on the defensive end than we did Sunday (against Northwestern). It was loud in there at times, but that is when you have to communicate with your teammates and let them know you have their help side. That is what brought us together and then we just capitalized on the offensive end."
Badger senior guard Ashley Josephson scored 10 points. Anderson sank a career-high five 3-pointers and tied a career best with seven assists.
As a team, Wisconsin turned the ball over just 12 times to Minnesota's 18 but was out-rebounded 44-38. "We didn't come away with a "W" but we made some big strides and we played better as a team then we did against Northwestern," Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone said. "We're certainly improved and we're going to be even better the next time we play Minnesota."
Wisconsin travels to Penn State Sunday.
According to Stone, sophomore guard Akiya Alexander has taken a personal leave of absence from team travel and competition. Alexander averaged 4.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 13 games.