The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (12-14, 3-11 Big Ten) scored a 79–62 Valentine’s Day upset over the Michigan State’s Spartans (17-7, 7-7) Thursday night at the Kohl Center. The Badgers worked up a big lead early and never looked back.
After jumping out to an 8–0 lead early in the first quarter, the Badgers used efficient outside shooting to close out the quarter with a 22–8 advantage. From there, the Badgers formed a 22-point lead midway through the second quarter thanks to 15 points from senior Marsha Howard. Wisconsin led 46–27 at the half and out-rebounded Michigan State 22-16.
Wisconsin would stretch their lead to as many as 27 in the fourth quarter, and the Spartans would trail by at least 17 for the remainder of the night. Wisconsin shot 42.2 percent from the field to go with 35.7 percent three-point shooting. The team finished a season-best 24 of 31 from the free-throw line (77.4 percent).
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Howard finished with a game-high 28 points on 10 of 18 shooting to lead the Badgers past the Spartans. Howard also went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. Kelly Karlis recorded her second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. But it was a complete team effort for Wisconsin, as the Badgers forced 16 turnovers off of which they scored 20 points.
The win gave Wisconsin its first against a ranked team since 2013.
But the Badgers could not make it back-to-back victories Sunday, suffering a 70–68 defeat on the road to the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-12, 8-7) despite nearly erasing a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
The Badgers built a 14-point lead with 5:28 left in the second quarter, but the Buckeyes would come back to tie the game at 36 just minutes into the third quarter. Ohio State would outscore Wisconsin 23-13 in the third quarter, but the Badgers would provide a comeback of their own in the fourth quarter.
With 4:52 remaining in the game, Ohio State had a game-high 13-point lead, but Wisconsin ground out a 16-5 run that featured three 3-pointers to pull within one point at 69–68 with five seconds to go.
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After Ohio State missed a free throw, the Badgers could not get off a last-second shot and the Buckeyes escaped with a victory.
Wisconsin’s Suzanne Gilreath led the team with a season-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Howard posted 18 points and earned her 1,000th career point in the process, becoming the 26th Badger to do so.
The Badgers shot the ball well for the second straight game — 42.9 percent from the floor and 35 percent from beyond the arc — but were no match for the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s Dorka Juhasz led the Buckeyes with 21 points and 15 rebounds in a dominant performance.
The Badgers will take the court Feb. 20 against the Illinois Fighting Illini at the Kohl Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be watched live on BTN Plus.