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Out for a sixth consecutive game, Mara Braun — the Gophers women's basketball team's top scorer — watched Tuesday night's game against Wisconsin at Williams Arena from the bench, a boot on her surgically repaired right foot. Also on the bench, starting center Sophie Hart, on crutches because of a sore left hip.

On the arena's elevated floor: a team working to find ways to score — and defend — without 40% of the starting lineup.

Call it a work in progress.

With Badgers star forward Serah Williams again scoring and pounding the boards, and with the Gophers struggling to score and to defend without fouling, Minnesota lost 67-56.

"We have a long ways to go figuring out how to do the little things well," Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit said of the Gophers (15-11 overall, 5-10 Big Ten). "Hopefully we'll take away some good things we did, especially defensively, in the second half."

There weren't enough of those things.

Down 15-12 after one quarter, the Gophers were outscored 24-12 in the second to trail by 15 after the second-lowest-scoring first half of the season. Down 19, the Gophers closed out the third quarter on a 10-0 run and were within 55-49 when guard Amaya Battle scored with 5:22 left in the game.

The Gophers got no closer. Consecutive turnovers — punctuated by an intentional foul call on Janay Sanders after the second one — pushed the Wisconsin lead back to 10, and the threat was over.

Williams scored 30 points on 11-for-14 shooting. She also had 15 rebounds, eight offensive, and was sent to the free-throw line 10 times, lifting the Badgers (13-12, 6-9) to their fourth consecutive victory over Minnesota.

In two games against the Gophers this season, Williams — who had her 12th double-double in a row — scored 54 points with 30 rebounds.

"We lost Mara," said Battle, who had 16 points, five assists and three rebounds. "Sophie went down. We're down two impact scorers. It's tough. Every team goes through a [difficult] stretch at some point. Ours is near the end. We have to stick together."

Freshman Ayianna Johnson, starting for Hart, scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sanders scored 11 points.

Big Ten women's basketball standings

It was Minnesota's seventh loss in eight games, Wisconsin's third win in four games.

Wisconsin led 52-33 after Williams' putback with 1:54 left in the third. But Grace Grochoski, who was hampered by foul trouble all game, started a 10-0 run to end the quarter with a three-pointer.

That run carried over into the fourth, led by Battle, who scored all the Minnesota points in a 6-3 start to the quarter. That 16-3 run, with Battle scoring 10 of them, drew the Gophers to within 55-49 with 5:22 left.

But consecutive turnovers stalled the comeback.

Wisconsin had a 10-2 edge off the bench, snared 16 offensive rebounds and shot 26 free throws. The Gophers attempted a season-low 13 three-pointers, making only four.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Gophers will need a strong push to avoid having to play on the first day of the upcoming Big Ten Conference tournament.

"We'll learn, we'll grow," Plitzuweit said. "We have to be intentional, finding the right kids and keeping them off the glass. We lost our cool in some situations, lost our composure. We really haven't done that this year."