In another contest with a conference opponent, Marisa Moseley’s Badgers (4–12, 1–5 Big Ten) defeated C. Vivian Stringer and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7–12, 0–7) 49-45 last Sunday.
The Knights came out firing early on, establishing a 7-0 edge within the first three minutes of play. The University of Wisconsin cut the lead to four off a Sydney Hilliard layup with 3:42 to spare, but the Scarlet Knights fired back and extended their advantage to 12 heading into the second frame.
Neither squad played particularly well on the offensive end in the following period, with both groups combining for 19 total points and 9-24 for the floor, including an 0-7 clip from the 3-point line. In a somewhat uneventful first half, Wisconsin only trailed by nine despite an underwhelming 29% mark from the hardwood.
With three quick steals leading to six points for the Badgers, the third quarter started with a scoring run to cut the Rutger edge to just three. Unfortunately, following a Stringer timeout, the Badgers went scoreless for nearly five minutes, allowing their Big Ten foe to extend their lead back to 10 with 95 ticks remaining before the final stretch.
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Through 15 contests into the 2021-22 campaign, the Badgers have certainly struggled in closing games and executing on the offensive end during crunch time. But Sunday afternoon, Moseley’s team arguably played its most impressive basketball of the season in the fourth quarter. With back-to-back Julie Pospíšilová layups and a perfect 4-4 effort from the charity stripe for Sara Stapleton, Wisconsin captured the lead for the first time of the match with three minutes to go. Wisconsin outscored the Scarlet Knights 19-8 during the fourth and shot 60% from the floor, ending the bout on the better end of a four-point margin.
Though the Badgers registered a dismal 18.8% efficiency from behind-the-arc and 37.5% shooting from the field, they forced the Scarlet Knights to fold under pressure. New Jersey’s Big Ten team turned it over six times in the fourth and 25 (yes, 25) times throughout the contest. Stringer’s group claimed 33 rebounds (14 more than UW) and accounted for 22 points down low. Despite trailing for 86.4% of the match, Wisconsin grabbed 15 steals and 21 tallies off giveaways — enough to rally back and snag its first Big Ten victory of Moseley’s tenure as head coach.
UW guard Sydney Hilliard executed on a team-leading six shot attempts for 13 total points, pulled down six rebounds and snatched three steals. In her 38 minutes of action, junior Pospíšilová added 13 points on 41.7% shooting, three rebounds and three steals. Guard Katie Nelson racked up nine points, and her teammate Halle Douglass was strong defensively with five steals while adding four assists over 32 minutes.
For the Scarlet Knights, Osh Brown, the active leader in rebounds and double-doubles in NCAA Division I play, punched in four field goals for 11 points and snared 10 boards in 35 total minutes of action. Guard Lasha Petree had 10 points and hit two 3-pointers off 57% from the floor.
Looking ahead, the Badgers will attempt to earn their second Big Ten victory when they face off against the Michigan Wolverines Jan. 20 in Ann Arbor.