EAST LANSING, Mich. — In the final game of the regular season for both teams, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team fell on the road at Michigan State, 67-54, on Saturday afternoon.
A game of runs by both teams, in which there were six lead changes, Wisconsin (5-18, 2-18 B1G) trailed 14-12 at the end of the first period. The Spartans (13-7, 8-7) outscored UW 19-11 in the second quarter, including a 6-0 run over the last 1:37 to lead 33-23 at the half.
Wisconsin opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run to pull within four (33-29) with 7:26 on the clock before an 8-0 MSU run put the Spartans up 42-30 with 4:57 to play. Michigan State upped its lead to 49-33 with 1:40 remaining. A 4-0 Badger run cut the lead to 49-39 with 9:21 to play in the game but that was as close as the Badgers would get.
Forward Imani Lewis led Wisconsin with 18 points, including scoring nine of the Badgers’ first 17 points of the game. The junior also added eight rebounds while shooting 53.3% (8-15) from the field.
Wisconsin also saw big games from two of its freshman in Kate Thompson and Brooke Schramek. Thompson recorded a career-high six rebounds while tallying eight points, just one point off her career high. Schramek also added eight points, including going 5-6 from the free-throw line, which was also just one point off her career best. Defensively, Schramek had a pair of steals and a pair of blocks.
Rounding out Wisconsin’s production were sophomore guards Sydney Hilliard and Pospisilova. Hilliard finished with eight points and three assists while Pospisilova scored seven points and had three steals away from the Spartan offense.
As a team, Wisconsin shot 42% (21-50) but just 22.2% (2-9) from 3-point range. The Badgers also hit 66.7% (10-15) from the free-throw line.
Defensively, the Badgers were able to shut down Michigan State’s leading scorer Nia Clouden, holing her to only seven points, less than half of her season average. Alyza Winston and Taiyier Parks both came off the bench to lead the Spartans with 14 points apiece. MSU shot 39.7% (25-63) from the field, including 38.9% (7-18) from 3-point range. The Spartans shot just 55.6% (10-18) from the free-throw line.
In this close game, offensive rebounds and fast-break points were two factors that kept the Badgers from overcoming the Spartans. Michigan State finished with 15 offensive boards compared to the Badgers’ seven, finishing with a 38-34 edge in overall boards. MSU also finished with a 17-6 fast-break point margin and scored 26 points off of 20 UW turnovers.
Straight from the court
Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis
“I was really proud of the way our kids came out of the locker room, starting the second half – made them call a time out and then we got (the score) to four but then we let them go on a run. I think the two things were points off turnovers, it was better in the second half, we only had seven but you can’t have a half with 13 (turnovers), it allows a team to get confidence. I thought the rebounding margin was close but the differential in 15 offensive boards to seven, there is the difference in the game. I thought we played good initial defense. I thought Sydney Hilliard did a good job on Nia Clouden. Obviously we were a little undermanned inside without having Sara Stapleton. We didn’t do a great job inside. Compared to how we played them first time, we held them to 25 less points.”
Wisconsin heads to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis this week. The Badgers are projected to play Illinois Tuesday at 4 p.m.at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The game airs live on the Big Ten Network with a radio play-by-play offered via U-100.9 FM. The tournament bracket will be released this evening at approximately 9 p.m.