A fourth-quarter comeback came up and short and the Wisconsin GLO suffered the first home loss in franchise history on Saturday night.
The GLO sliced a 13-point deficit down to three with less than three minutes to play but never got over the hump in an 87-78 loss to the St. Louis Surge at Menominee Nation Arena. It was the second loss to the Surge in three meetings so far this season and this one definitely stung.
“We just struggled all night,” GLO head coach Lauren Busalacchi said. “I don’t know if we had three scores in a row or three stops in a row in four quarters. We came out in the fourth quarter and started chipping away possession by possession but then we had a couple of turnovers, some missed big shots and then defensively lost them again.”
Wisconsin struggled rebounding for much of the game and couldn’t overcome the Surge’s 29-19 advantage on the offensive glass.
Every time it seemed the GLO were gaining some momentum in the second half, St. Louis would convert a second chance into points to stem the tide and keep Wisconsin at bay.
“One thing that is really deflating is offensive rebounds and they had so many tonight. We just had to get them off the boards,” Hannah Whitish said. “When it comes to them getting the offensive rebounds, that’s on everybody. It’s not just the bigs, it’s not just the guards, everybody has to rebound. They just outhustled us.”
Even when Wisconsin was able to finish off a defensive possession and limit the Surge to just one shot, converting on the other end wasn’t a sure thing.
The GLO shot just 37 percent from the floor and knocked down only eight of their 32 attempts from behind the arc and were held under 80 points for the first time this season.
And after a couple of games where slow starts put Wisconsin behind early on, this time it was a 12-point second quarter that left the GLO trailing 44-34 at halftime.
“We didn’t make enough shots,” Busalacchi said. “Offensively we have to be a little more active, stay a little more spaced and take care of the ball better than we did tonight.”
Still, even with the struggles, the GLO put themselves in a position to walk off the court with a win.
Trailing 65-55 to start the fourth quarter before falling behind by as many as 13 points later in the period, Wisconsin rattled off nine straight points to slice into St. Louis’ advantage.
Jolene Anderson scored in the paint on three consecutive possessions – the last two coming on assists from Taylor Wurtz and Sam Logic – and then set up Whitish for a 3-pointer that cut the Surge’s lead to 77-73 with 3:06 remaining.
Whitish, who earlier this season made nine 3-pointers in a game, scored a team-high seven points in the period and used a couple of elbow jumpers before stepping back to hit the clutch 3.
“Anytime you see the ball go in it gives you a little bit of a confidence boost,” Whitish said. “Sadly, I waited until the fourth quarter for it to happen.”
Busalacchi was happy to see Whitish’s approach in the fourth but wasn’t surprised by what the Barneveld alum took.
“Hannah has an awesome touch. She can pull-up mid-range and hasa great floater she can hit,” Busalacchi said. “Her willingness to break that 3-point line and knock down some shots helped give us some momentum,which is what we needed. She did a great job of that in the fourth quarter, trying to hunt as good of looks as she could get and that gave her confidence also.”
St. Louis snapped Wisconsin’s 9-0 run with a basket by Brianna Rollerson but Jessica Kelliher responded with a three-point play on the next GLO possession that trimmed the deficit to 79-76 with 2:29 left.
But the Surge answered with a basket on the next possession and closed out the game with an 8-2 run as Wisconsin managed only a Logic basket late in the game.
“We got it rolling, it was just a little too late,” Whitish said. “Everybody on this team is a great shooter and we just have to keep shooting and eventually the ball is going to go in.”
Wurtz finished with 17 points to lead the way for the GLO, while playing the entire second half. Anderson added 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while Whitish also finished with 14 points and Allaziah Blockton chipped in 11.
Alisha Jenkins paced St. Louis with 22 points.
The two teams will face off again on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Menominee Nation Arena and the GLO will be looking to rebound and avoid the weekend sweep.
“Their second chances killed us. It hurt us in the first (loss to St. Louis) and it hurt us again tonight,” Busalacchi said. “We really need to box out and secure the ball. You can’t give up that many offensive boards to anybody, especially the best team in the league.”