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Badgers' late rally falls short against Wolverines


ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Trailing by 28 with 11:03 to go in the game, the Wisconsin women's basketball team mounted a comeback against the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich., that had the makings to be epic.

But, time expired and the Badgers found themselves left just short, 70-62, in their first Big Ten Conference loss of the season.

"It's bitter and sweet," UW head coach Bobbie Kelsey said after the game. "We liked the fight in the kids. We probably should have pressed them a lot sooner. We hadn't worked on it, so for us to be able to do that and come back like that is pretty remarkable."

Wisconsin fell to 8-6 overall (1-1 Big Ten), while Michigan improved to 11-4 (2-0). The Badgers return to Madison to host Iowa on Sunday in a noon game at the Kohl Center.

Despite outscoring the Wolverines 39-35 in the second half of play, the Badgers couldn't overcome the early deficit they put themselves in.

"It's too hard to dig yourself out of a hole, you can't do that on a consistent basis" Kelsey continued. "You have to be really ready to play. We had too many quick shots and not enough execution on the offensive end."

Michigan took a 35-23 lead into the locker room at halftime and then proceeded to open the second half on a 20-4 run to take a 28-point lead with 11:03 remaining.

The Wolverines countered every bucket by the Badgers until a three-point play by Michala Johnson sparked a 9-0 Badger run to cut U-M's lead to 60-44 with 4:44 remaining.

Wisconsin applied the pressure -- holding Michigan scoreless for almost three minutes -- and put together a 14-0 run to cut U-M's lead to six, 64-58, with 1:28 to go.

"They coughed it up a few times, we got some steals, some and-ones," said Kelsey. "If I had known we were going to do it like that I would have done it a lot sooner.

"Some of it is coaching, you've got to make a decision a little bit sooner... we've all got to do better.

"Credit Michigan, they hit shots, they did a nice job of getting the ball to whom they needed to get it to, but we weren't hitting our shots and when you aren't hitting your shots, you've got to play extra hard on the defensive end. That's the only way you are going to stay in the game."

Michigan used four free throws in the final minute to hold on to the 70-62 victory.

Wisconsin shot 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field, going 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) beyond the arc. The Badgers were 6-of-8 (75 percent) from the free throw line.

Michigan shot 39.7 percent (27-of-68), including a 6-of-11 mark (54.5 percent) from 3-point range. The Wolverines were a near-perfect 10-of-11 (90.9 percent) from the charity stripe.

U-M pulled down 45 boards compared to the Badgers' 31, including 19 on the offensive end of the court.

Morgan Paige led the Badgers with 18 points, while Jacki Gulczynski chipped in 14 and Nicole Bauman added 10. Taylor Wurtz led UW with 11 rebounds, finishing just shy of a double-double with nine points.

Michigan was led by four players in double figures, including a double-double by Cyesha Goree.


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