Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgerball drops fourth straight

You could see it in the teary eyes of the UW women’s basketball team’s senior tri-captains at the post-game press conference. This one hurt. Bad. This was as bad as it has been all season.

After starting the season 16-1 (7-0 Big Ten), Badgerball has fallen on some hard times. Coming off of a three-game losing streak, the players knew they had to have this one. But against Michigan State it just wouldn’t happen — and in the most agonizing way, as the Badgers fell by just a single point, 58-57, Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.

The loss, Wisconsin’s fourth straight, dropped them to 16-5 (7-4 Big Ten), dropping them to a game and a half behind Purdue, whom the Badgers play this Sunday. With the win, Michigan State improved to 14-7 (4-6 Big Ten).

Ironically, the things that the Badgers have been plagued by so much in their losing streak — turnovers and rebounding– were much improved tonight.

Wisconsin turned the ball over 17 times, not a terrible number against a very sturdy Spartan defense, and actually out-rebounded MSU 30-29. Moreover, UW held the Spartans, the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the nation, to just 13 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.

“That was a tough loss,” UW head coach Jane Albright said, who was very adamant that this was the best game that her team had played in a while, despite losing. “We really played about as hard as we can play and put our heart out there and really gave it our best effort. And as a coach, that’s really all I ever demand from anybody in my program.”

Perhaps the reason why the Badgers lost was, despite shooting a solid 46.8 percent, they were only able to hoist up 47 shots, a season-low in field-goal attempts. Trying to create open looks against MSU’s defense, which played a combination of zone, trap, and press, proved to be a difficult task, and Badger shooters were too often forced to fire up unfavorable shots in an effort to beat the shot clock.

“I think (Michigan State’s) a great defensive team,” Albright said.

In the first half, the Badgers were able to keep the game close on the shoulders of their post-up game, namely in senior forward Jessie Stomski and sophomore center Emily Ashbaugh.

Ashbaugh put up a very solid 10 points and suffocating defense, acting as the aggressor underneath early in the game, something she has sometimes lacked. Stomski led all scorers with 25 points, including eight rebounds.

She was 6-6 shooting in the first half. However, Wisconsin just could not find the outside shooting looks, or touch when they had them, as the main perimeter threats, senior guards Kyle Black and Tamara Moore, combined for just 17 points in the game, including a dismal 3-10 from behind the arc.

The Badgers built up their largest lead of the game (just six points) at 16-10 in the first half, but lightning struck for MSU at the halftime buzzer with UW leading 30-28.

Freshman guard Kristin Haynie, who would score 12 points in the game, grabbed a missed free throw by Stomski with four seconds left, dribbled the ball to half court, and launched a shot that went cleanly in the hoop at the buzzer to give the Spartans a 31-30 halftime lead.

While it may have seemed like just a novelty shot, it turned out that MSU would not have won the game if the shot would have missed, a dagger that the Badgers simply could have done nothing about.

“I had a feeling right after I released it that it was going in,” said Haynie. “So it felt good when it went in.”

The first 10 minutes of the second half were more up-tempo than the rest of the game, as both teams used sharp passing and effective backdoor cuts to get easy baskets.

Black and Moore nailed threes within 1:47 of each other fairly early in the half, knotting the game at 41-41 and seemingly giving the Badgers momentum in a game filled with energy.

But the Spartans weathered the storm, and the game turned back into the rugged defensive struggle characterized by the first half. The Spartans led 50-49 with 9:04 left in the game. There were only 16 combined points scored the rest of the way in a game marred by physical play and fouls more reminiscent of the NBA than of women’s college basketball.

In the end, though, it was Michigan State who made just enough plays to win.

The Badgers actually led 53-50 with 3:56 left after a floating putback by Ashbaugh, but foul problems for the Badgers and clutch free throws by the Spartans gave MSU the winning margin.

Twice the Badgers got within one point, but twice MSU sophomore guard Candace Jackson drilled two free throws to restore the three-point lead, once after Moore turned the ball over and was forced to foul her (Moore’s fifth) with 10 seconds left.

With Moore fouled out, all eyes were on Black for the tying three. She got a look, but her shot was partially blocked by MSU’s Syreeta Bromfield.

Stomski picked up the ball and layed it in with two seconds left, a meaningless basket that made the score 58-57.

All Michigan State had to do was inbound the ball to avenge a double-overtime loss to Wisconsin earlier in the season.

After an utterly heartbreaking loss (their fourth in a row), the once-fifth-ranked Badgers have to figure out where to go from here. A win over Purdue this Sunday would be a nice start.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *