Following a record-setting 22-point comeback victory against the Purdue Boilermakers, Suzy Merchant and the Michigan State Spartans (14-11, 8-6 Big Ten) edged out Marisa Moseley’s Wisconsin squad (7-18, 4-11 Big Ten) 74-67 on Feb. 16.

During the first portion of the opening frame, both groups scratched the scoresheet early and accounted for three ties by the 4:15 mark. But Michigan State went scoreless for a 4:53 stretch to end the quarter, allowing the Badgers to generate a 7-0 scoring run and establish a five-point advantage, thanks to three looks from behind-the-arc.

Backed by a three-point make from Matilda Ekh and a fastbreak score from Nia Clouden, MSU stormed back to take a two-point lead within the first 30 seconds of the second quarter. Following a quick timeout from Moseley, the Big Ten foes went back-and-forth for over eight minutes, knotting the contest up an additional five times. Two Nelson free-throws and a Douglass three-point bomb propelled the Badgers to another five-point lead before intermission, but 20 minutes of regulation still bridged the gap between a hard-fought victory or a disappointing loss.

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Michigan State took off to start the second half, executing on 7-13 field goals and all six looks from the charity stripe. Freshman Matilda Ekh outscored University of Wisconsin 13-11 in the third period and anchored an 11-3 Spartan scoring run to close the quarter. In the blink of an eye, what was once a five-point lead for the Badgers quickly transformed into a seven point hole, but for Badger nation, this deficit appeared slim.

The Badgers fought in the fourth, keeping the Michigan State advantage within striking distance for nearly the entire frame. Despite UW’s 83.3% clip from deep and 50% efficiency from the floor during the final period of regulation, MSU maintained its lead and concluded Wednesday’s play with contributions from five different Spartans.

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With star Sydney Hilliard is not back on the court, UW freshman Krystyna Ellew notched a team-leading 19 points and registered a 5-8 clip from three-point range. Sophomore Halle Douglass one-upped her teammate, nailing all six of her three-point attempts and snatching three loose balls in 33 minutes of action. As always, point guard Katie Nelson led UW in minutes played, logging nine points, two loose steals and three assists. In her 40 minutes on the hardwood, junior guard Julie Pospíšilová secured 11 points and dished out five dimes with five made field goals.

For MSU, freshman Matilda Ekh recorded a game-high 25 points with an impressive 72.7% from the floor and 71.4% from downtown. The 2020-21 All-Big Ten first-teamer Nia Clouden racked up 12 points and distributed eight assists, and her teammate, Alisia Smith, canned four field goals and each of her free-throw attempts for Merchant’s group in the victory.