Guard Carlie Wagner hit a 3-point shot in the third quarter, which she said gave her confidence.
As she started taking more shots in the third, her confidence showed.
Wagner hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter alone, to finish with 20 points as Minnesota won 71-61 against Wisconsin Wednesday in Madison, Wis. The Gophers have now defeated the Badgers 11 times in a row.
“I had enough space and my feet were set, so I was just letting it fly,” Wagner said. “It was going.”
Wagner shot 6-10 from beyond the arc, but she did not have the same luck inside. She made just one of five shots from inside the 3-point line. In fact, Minnesota as a whole shot better from 3-point territory than from midrange and in the paint.
Though Wagner had an impressive day from 3, another guard for Minnesota finished first among the team in scoring. Gadiva Hubbard scored a game-high 22 points. She came into the game averaging 12.2 points. Hubbard said she has been putting up more shots before and after practice, so she was determined to put up more shots in the game.
“I was just happy that they went in,” Hubbard told reporters.
Minnesota (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) blew out Wisconsin 90-65 two games ago. The Badgers kept this game closer, partially by staying with the Gophers on the boards. Wisconsin grabbed 44 rebounds to Minnesota’s 38, after getting out-rebounded 56-41 the first time the two played.
The Gophers’ first victory of the season versus the Badgers marked the eighth time in a row Wisconsin was defeated. The Badgers came out and showed improvement in their next game, however, when they beat Northwestern 58-46. The team won two out of three games before Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota.
“I thought [Wisconsin] battled very hard [Wednesday],” head coach Marlene Stollings told reporters. “I thought they fought, they played well defensively.”
The Gophers closed out the first quarter with a purpose. Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell drove to the rim and finished the layup before time expired. Bell’s make was a part of a 14-0 run for the team. She finished with 12 points in the game.
The Badgers (9-15, 2-9 Big Ten) clawed their way back into the game to make it an 11-point game at halftime. Wagner’s impressive third quarter led to the Gophers keeping the margin in double-digits by the time the game ended.
“It’s always tought to go on the road, especially after a 10-day break,” Wagner said. “I’m very happy with the sweep and the win today.”
Minnesota is on the road again Sunday when it takes on the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, Iowa. The team has seven more games in the conference schedule before postseason play. The Gophers defeated the Hawkeyes 77-72 on Jan 21. With that victory and two against Wisconsin, the team is on a three-game winning streak.
“For us, we’re very much focused on an NCAA Tournament bid,” Stollings said. “So each game for us is of the utmost importance here.”