Wisconsin hoops drop home opener to Saint Francis - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin hoops drop home opener to Saint Francis

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MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women's basketball team stumbled in its home opener to Saint Francis (Pa.), 103-100, on Sunday evening at the Kohl Center, despite the program's first 100-point game since 2004.

Junior guard Cayla McMorris tallied a career-high 31 points, shooting a career-best 12-of-22 from the field and leading the offense for the second game in a row.

Wisconsin (0-2) shot 43 percent (37-86) from the floor, as well as out-rebounded SFU 61-41. The Red Flash connected on 36-of-82 shots (43.9 percent) but hit 15 shots from beyond the arc.

"First, I'd like to congratulate Saint Francis on a really well-played game," UW head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. "They stick to what they do and (coach) Joe (Haigh) has done a phenomenal job there. Obviously they were going to take a lot of threes. They were going to press. We understood that part of it and I think even in the fourth quarter the one three they made was such a big momentum three that got them the lead back.

"We talked about the battle. We want to be able to hang our hat on our defense and when you give up someone shooting 34 percent from the 3-point line and 103 points, everyone needs to be better in practice about it. You have to play possession by possession even in a fast-paced game to make sure that you're playing to your strength and taking another team out of their strength."

The Badgers sped to an 8-2 lead in the first five minutes of play, widening the gap to 19-9 with back-to-back baskets from freshman Courtney Fredrickson with 45 seconds left in the first quarter. The Flash responded with an 8-2 run to finish out the period down by four points (21-17).

Saint Francis did not take its first lead until the midpoint of the second quarter, making two consecutive triples for a 36-33 advantage with 5:46 left in the half. Wisconsin stayed close behind, but the Flash made four free throws to finish off the half with a 50-45 lead.

SFU would up the lead to a six-point margin (54-48) just a minute into the third quarter, but Wisconsin rebounded with three straight layups to tie the game at 54 with 7:45 on the clock.

The teams swapped narrow leads into the fourth quarter with Wisconsin leading by as many as five points (92-87) with less than five minutes to play.

The Badgers led 98-96 with 2:03 left to play but a 3-pointer by Katie Reese gave Saint Francis a 99-98 lead with just under two minutes to play. Wisconsin had several missed opportunities and were then forced to foul. With 23 seconds remaining, Reese sank two free throws to put the Red Flash up 103-98. McMorris hit a jumper with 10 seconds to go and despite getting the ball back on a turnover, UW was unable to convert a last-second 3-point attempt.

Three Badgers joined McMorris in double-figure scoring, as Fredrickson contributed 18 points, redshirt senior Avyanna Young added 17 points and freshman Gabby Gregory scored 12 points. Young grabbed 15 boards for her 17th career double-double as Wisconsin outrebounded Saint Francis 61-42.

SFU took advantage of UW turnovers, scoring 29 points off turnovers, as the Badgers gave up the ball 25 times.

Wisconsin continues its three-game home stand on Wednesday with a contest against Dayton. Tip-off time is 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

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