For a season which began with five out of six wins in non-conference play, the 2019-2020 Big Ten campaign for the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team has been nothing short of a disappointment. After a good start, the exhaustion of a full season set in and Wisconsin failed to string together the same winning consistency.
Traveling to Rutgers for the final regular season contest of the year, the Badgers came out and played aggressively in the first quarter of action, earning steals and finishing at the rim. The Scarlet Knights (20-8, 10-6 Big Ten) held Wisconsin (11-18, 3-15) to just 10 points in the opening period but led by just three after a strong defensive stretch from the Badgers.
Rutgers failed to pull away in the first half as a whole, with the Badgers and Knights combining for just 47 points in the first 20 minutes. Both clubs played well defensively, as the turnovers began to mount late in the first half. Wisconsin finished with 16 turnovers to the Knights’ 14 for the game.
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The second half played out in a similar fashion to those which have gotten away from the Badgers this season, as the shots continued to miss the mark and Rutgers finally found their rhythm. Wisconsin was also hindered by their poor free throw shooting — they converted just 46% of their charity stripe attempts.
The Badgers were outscored by 17 in the second half to bring the game — and the regular-season — to an end. The 20-point loss was all too similar to the rest of the seven-game losing streak, marked by offensive stagnation and poor ball security.
Wisconsin got away from the style of play that almost won them the 2020 Bahamas Hoopfest in late November, which cost them dearly in conference play.
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The Big Ten Tournament will feature the No. 12 Badgers taking on the No. 13 Illinois Fighting Illini in the first game of the tournament Wednesday afternoon. If the Badgers are able to end their losing streak against Illinois, they’ll be faced with a daunting schedule through the rest of the tournament against top-notch competition.
The Badgers have a talented core of players who have proven they can score in big games, but the team has lacked the ability to play well for four consecutive quarters against the level of talent which they can expect to face in the Big Ten Tournament. To continue their season, Wisconsin will need to be clicking on all cylinders in Indianapolis.