In University of Wisconsin’s first home game since Nov. 22, Marisa Moseley’s Wisconsin squad fell to Kenny Brooks and the Virginia Tech Hokies 70-60 in a high-scoring match Wednesday night.
The Hokies improved to 7-1 on the year and with 37 votes from the AP poll heading into their matchup with the Badgers, the Hokies could sneak into the Top 25.
Virginia Tech opened the first quarter on an 11-3 scoring run and caught Wisconsin’s 2-3 zone defense in early foul trouble. Within five minutes, UW picked up four team fouls and with sophomore Georgia Amoore executing on three looks from deep, the Hokies started off hot.
Though Wisconsin recorded an efficient 50% clip from the field and 100% mark from the charity stripe, VT’s 71.4% from the floor and 10 bench points helped Brooks’s group establish a 27-17 advantage by the end of the initial period.
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UW cut the lead to six early on in the second, but the Hokies lead ballooned to 16 with 1:29 minutes remaining before halftime. Off the bench, Virginia Tech guard Azana Baines led all scorers with 13 points off 83.3% from the hardwood and seven boards at halftime.
Juniors Sara Stapleton and Julie Pospíšilová added seven points each before the break, but with the Badgers accounting for only 10 total scores and seven personal fouls in the second quarter, Virginia Tech increased its lead to 41-27 entering the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Wisconsin came out firing in the third, cutting the scoring differential to eight and hitting six of its first seven shot attempts through 5:17 minutes of action. The Hokies responded with an 8-2 scoring run of their own, but for the first time throughout the contest, the Badgers outscored VT in a quarter, 18-16. UW shot 70% from the field and a perfect 4-4 mark from the foul line.
The Badgers would go on to shoot 28.6% from the field in the final period of play, allowing the ACC powerhouse to extend its advantage to 18 with 2:56 left in regulation. When the final buzzer sounded, the score read 70-60 in favor of the Hokies, effectively dropping the Badgers to a disappointing 2-6 on the year.
Despite UW’s 17-18 free-throw mark and success in managing 2021 First Team All-ACC member Elizabeth Kitley, VT’s 29 bench points and 50% clip from the field proved too much for Wisconsin. The Badgers registered 24 personal fouls and only three made 3-point attempts compared to 21 team fouls and seven looks from outside for the Hokies.
Junior guard Azana Baines dominated against the Badgers, chalking up 19 points, snatching 10 rebounds and swatting away two shot attempts in only 29 minutes. Kitley, a 2021 finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, put up 13 scores, grabbed three boards and dished out three dimes. Sophomore Georgia Amoore shot 50% from behind-the-arc in 32 minutes with guards Kayana Traylor and Cayla King racking up 10 points each for VT.
In 34 minutes on the floor, UW guard Sydney Hilliard logged a team-leading 16 points, eight rebounds and three swipes off 66.7% from the field. Stapleton secured 15 tallies and five boards on 71.4% during her 24 minutes on the court while guard Pospíšilová added 11 points and two steals of her own. Off the bench, Halle Douglass and Krystyna Ellew combined for all 13 of UW’s second unit points.
The Badgers travel to Evanston for their first Big Ten matchup of the season against Northwestern Sunday, Dec. 5.