Badgers hold off Michigan for third consecutive Big Ten win

Posted-January 30th, 2012 11:00 pm

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin held off a late charge by Michigan to earn a 66-60 victory at the Kohl Center Monday night. The Wolverines used a 16-0 run to tie the game at 47, but the Badgers went 6-of-7 from the free throw line to hold on for their third consecutive Big Ten Conference victory.

After leading for the first 34 minutes, Wisconsin's offense went cold and the Wolverines tied the game 47-47 on a 3-pointer by Kate Thompson. But the Badgers didn't back down and Morgan Paige responded with a layup at 5:40 to give UW back its lead. Michigan tied the game at 49 and again at 51 with just under four minutes to play.

Taylor Wurtz scored a layup at 3:29 to give Wisconsin a two-point advantage (53-41) before a free throw by Michigan's Rachel Sheffer brought the score to 53-52 with 3:01 to go. That was as close as the Wolverines would come as the Badgers responded with a 5-0 run, capped off by a layup by Cassie Rochel, to take a 58-52 lead with 1:37 to go.

The Badgers answered every Wolverine basket and Michigan was forced to foul in the final minute of play. Wisconsin made four trips to the line in the final 51 seconds, shooting 6-of-7 to earn the win.

The win moves Wisconsin to 8-13 on the season (4-5 Big Ten), while Michigan falls to 16-6 (5-4 Big Ten).

"This is a resilient group, we never give up," head coach Bobbie Kelsey remarked after the game. "Sometimes the shots fall for you, sometimes they don't. When you lose a lot of your scoring from last year, a lot of these players have not been in these situations - in a game; when you're in the game its different."

"(I'm) very proud of this group. We showed that we can persevere against a great team that shoots very well."

Wisconsin ended the first half of play with a season-low 26 points, but poor shooting by the Wolverines allowed UW a 10-point, 26-16, halftime lead. Wisconsin opened the game with a 5-0 run and jumped out to a 10-point lead, 18-8, on a pair of free throws by Jacki Gulczynski at 8:02. Michigan got within seven, 18-11, with 5:51 remaining, before a 3-point play by Wurtz 20 seconds later extended the Badgers' lead back to 10 (21-11). Wurtz hit a 3-pointer and converted a U-M turnover into a layup to score the final five points of the first half.

Wurtz led all scorers with 21 points, while Jade Davis tied her season high with 13. Rochel and Paige both chipped in nine points. Anya Covington pulled down eight rebounds and Wurtz collected seven as Wisconsin outrebounded Michigan 35-32.

The Badgers shot 25-of-56 (44.6 percent) from the floor, going 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range and a season-high 10-of-11 (90.9 percent) from the free throw line.

Wisconsin's tough defense held Michigan to 37.9 percent (22-of- 58) from the floor, including a 6-of 26 (23.1 percent) performance in the first half. The Wolverines' shooting woes continued beyond the arc, as U-M converted just 6-of-25 (24 percent) from 3-point range.

Wisconsin dished out 14 assists but also turned the ball over 14 times while the Wolverines has 12 assists and 12 turnovers.

The Badgers put their three-game win streak on the line Thursday when they host Iowa in Big Ten play. Tip time set for 7 p.m. from the Kohl Center.

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