University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (9-20, 2-14 Big Ten) finished their regular season this past Wednesday, losing against Michigan State (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) 69-61 in East Lansing. Though a loss, senior Cayla McMorris and junior Marsha Howard took the offensive reins in this game.

While some were impressed by the Badgers’ effort last week in a close defeat versus Rutgers, the performance by leading scorer McMorris last night at the Breslin Center was perhaps more exciting. McMorris started the game hot, scoring 12 out of her 15 points in the first quarter.

Though slowly losing steam, the Badgers were down by only three against the Spartans to end the half. For the Badger fans, this was an exciting moment as the team was within arm’s reach of taking the lead at halftime.

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Unfortunately, it was going to take more than the Badgers provided to actually secure the win. Wisconsin took the loss because of low numbers in rebounding, which for the majority, were offensive.

It was a close game, with Wisconsin ending the contest down by just eight. While Wisconsin had a similar field goal percentage, Michigan State’s rebounding gave the team more shooting opportunities.

Howard scored 28 points, her season-high, along with 11 rebounds. This gave Howard an impressive double-double in the box score. With almost 46 percent of the team’s final points, Howard had a personal field goal percentage of 63 percent, much higher than any of the Spartans’ top-scorers.

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Impressive as each of these are individually, one-third of Howard’s season highs now come from this final game of her junior year, which shows promise for her season year. She is now working her way up as a strong leader of the women on this team, especially now that she’s nearing her senior year and final season as a Badger.

It was almost as if the game was a passing of the torch with senior McMorris. As McMorris finishes her time here, joining the 1,000 point club last Sunday, Howard is stepping up.

Badger fans should be excited to see if Howard can continue this level of play in the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indianapolis.