ANN ARBOR, Mich. --Wisconsin took a two-point advantage into the locker room -- typically a good sign for the young squad -- but couldn’t hold on to the lead, falling to Michigan, 54-43, on the road at the Crisler Center Sunday afternoon.
The loss leaves the Badgers looking for answers to their scoring woes.
“We are trying to find a consistent scorer other than Morgan (Paige) and Jacki (Gulczynski),” said head coach Bobbie Kelsey.
Gulczynski paced the Badgers with 13, but Paige came up short, shooting just 2-of-14, including going 0-of-7 from 3-point range, and finishing with six points.
“She (Morgan Paige) couldn’t find the basket, unfortunately, and we didn’t have anyone step up to pick up the slack,” continued Kelsey.
Nicole Bauman finished the afternoon with 11 points, but no other Badgers scored in double digits.
Wisconsin (8-9 overall, 0-4) has been looking for consistent scoring all season and appeared to have found the answer against Iowa on Thursday night with four players scoring in double figures. But tough defense from Michigan (14-2, 3-0) held the Badgers’ to their third-lowest scoring output of the season and gave the Wolverines their ninth-consecutive victory.
The Badgers opened the game up with a 9-0 run, holding Michigan scoreless for the first 6:33 of the game.
After a free throw from Michigan’s Nya Jordan cut UW’s lead to 11-10 with 7:08 left in the half, Wisconsin answered with a quick 8-2 run to regain the lead by seven, 19-12, with just over three minutes remaining in the first half.
Michigan didn’t back down, closing the half on a 9-2 run, including three points in the final seven seconds to make it a 21-19 contest at the break.
It was in the second half, where Wisconsin’s scoring woes began to surface. Michigan took the lead for good at the 13:45 mark and never relinquished it.
After the Wolverines went ahead by nine, 41-32, with just over seven minutes remaining in the game, Wisconsin fought back twice to get the score within four, but just couldn’t find the offensive firepower to keep up.
Wisconsin finished the game 16-of-46 (34.8 percent) from the field, shooting 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range. The Badgers posted a perfect 9-of-9 performance from the free throw line.
Michigan’s shooting performance wasn’t much different from the Badgers’. The Wolverines were 19-of-50 (38 percent) from the floor, including a 2-of-15 (13.3 percent) performance beyond the arc. Michigan finished the game going 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) from the charity stripe.
Tiera Stephen stepped up her defense for the Badgers, swiping a career-high nine steals, as the Badgers forced Michigan into 14 turnovers.
“She was really anticipating the pass and getting her hand on some drives,” Kelsey said of Stephen’s performance. “We were really pleased with her play, but again, one person does not make a team.”
Wisconsin struggled with ball control issues of its own, committing 17 turnovers, due in part by 10 Michigan steals.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Badgers as they travel to No. 8 Penn State on Thursday night for another tough Big Ten game. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) and the game will be streamed live on BTDN.