It wasn’t the perfect ending but it was good enough to get the Wisconsin GLO a win.
The St. Louis Surge hit three 3-pointers and got a three-point play in the final 44 seconds to erase most of the GLO’s 12-point lead. But two free throws by Taylor Wurtz with five seconds to go helped Wisconsin secure an 86-82 win at Menominee Nation Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The victory allowed the GLO to avoid a weekend sweep by the Surge and improve to 8-2 overall this season.
“We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be for that last minute-and-a-half or so on the defensive then and then obviously missing free throws,” GLO head coach Lauren Busalacchi said. “We didn’t maximize the moment for sure, so we were fortunate to have the lead we did going into it. It would have been an ugly weekend if it was different.”
There was also a bit of a lesson with the way the GLO finished.
“Games are 40 minutes and not 38,” Jolene Anderson said. “St. Louis is a great team but at the end of the day, you have to play the full 40 minutes.”
Anderson, with 15 points, was one of four players to finish in double figures for the GLO, which was led by 18 points from Wurtz. Jessica Kelliher posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Rounding out the double figure scorers for Wisconsin was Kelly Moten, who tallied 13 points off the bench as the GLO showcased its depth in the win. Julie Wojta added eight points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals off the bench and Angela Rodriguez hit a couple of key 3-pointers as all five reserves who played scored and Wisconsin posted a 33-9 advantage in bench points.
“Our bench, not just not skipping a beat out there but they extended things. They put us up by (19) in the first half,” Busalacchi said. “If you have that bench like we do, it will take you as far as you want to go.”
Wisconsin never trailed after the opening few minutes and took a 61-56 lead into. the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer from Rodriguez to start the period followed by a three-point play from Kelliher pushed the lead to 11, while Moten’s three-point play and a jumper fromWojtahelped th GLO maintain their lead with just more than seven minutes remaining/
The GLO then took their biggest lead of the quarter at 82-70 on a baseline jumper by Wurtz and 1-of-2 free throws from Kelliher.
That’s when things got interesting.
Kelsey McClure knocked down a pair of 3s and Erin Bollman added another as the Surge took advantage of some icy free-throw shooting to cut the lead to four with 17 seconds remaining. Wurtz made 1-of-2 free throws on the next GLO possession, but Bollman answered with a three-point play to cut Wisconsin’s lead to 84-82.
Wurtz, who led the GLO with 18 points, was then fouled with five seconds left and was able to convert both free throws to just about seal the win.
“We just played team basketball tonight,: Anderson said. “Our team is the greatest when we are moving the basketball and are looking for the open shot – it doesn’t matter who takes it – and we did that tonight. If we stay poised, stay under control; and play our basketball we can do anything.”
Coming off Saturday night’s loss, the GLO seized control of the game early and led nearly the entire first half.
Wojta’s drive to the basket started a 13-2 run that helped Wisconsin take a 26-14 lead after one period. Alex Cohen followed Wojta’s basket with a pair of free throws before Moten – who was held scoreless on Saturday night – drained two 3-pointers.
“Kelly came in locked in and she can be unguardable at times,” Busalacchi said.
Moten also had a pair of baskets while Anderson and Allazia Blockton each made 3-pointers as the GLO opened the second quarter with a 10-4 spurt to build a 36-18 lead. A floater by Sam Logic midway through the period gave the GLO its biggest lead of the game at 19 points, while Anderson’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the period helped Wisconsin go into the half with the 19-point cushion intact at 50-31.
“It woul;d have been nice if we didn’t have halftime to break that rhythm and momentum we had going,” Busalacchi said. “You are constantly looking for responses in athletics and the team came out and responded really well today. They were ready to go from the start which was a big deal.”
The GLO will have this weekend off before wrapping up the regular season with a pair of home games on August 7 and 8. Wisconsin will welcome the Flint Monarchs to Menominee Nation Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday before theDetopit Queens and GLO will face off Sunday at 3 p.m.