Badgers women's basketball bests Green Bay on Bauman 3-pointer
MADISON, Wis. -- Trailing for most of the game and with their backs against the wall, the Wisconsin women's basketball team pulled off a huge come-from-behind win over in-state rival Green Bay Monday night at the Kohl Center, defeating the Phoenix 65-61 in overtime.
A last-second 3-pointer by Nicole Bauman sent the Badgers (7-5) into overtime as four free throws from Morgan Paige and a pair of field goals by Michala Johnson led UW to victory.
Bauman's last-second shot didn't surprise head coach Bobbie Kelsey.
"Nicole makes those in shoot-around," said Kelsey. "She does. She just throws them up there. I mean, it's fun to just see ‘Can I make this?' You do the count down and throw it up, and it worked for us this time. We needed it."
Down by 10 (49-39) with 5:01 to go in the game, Wisconsin's offense shook off the cobwebs and came to life. A pair of 3-pointers by AnnMarie Brown bookended a 13-5 run to get the Badgers within two, 54-52, with 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
Thirty seconds later, Brown committed a foul that sent Green Bay's Mehryn Kraker to the line to shoot a pair of free throws. Kraker missed the first but made the second, giving the Badgers back the ball with five seconds to go and trailing by three, 55-52.
Wisconsin inbounded the ball with Paige passing to Bauman just inside half court. The sophomore banked the 35-foot shot in with less than one second to play to send the game into overtime.
"We just have to pass, pass, pass, and then try to throw something up and hopefully make it," added Kelsey. "This is kind of reminiscent of the shot the guys made last year (Ben Brust vs. Michigan).
"It's nice to know we can come back and win a game when we didn't play well the first half. The game's not over in the first half. You've got to put two halves together, and you've got to play all the way to the end. If you lose it, at least you go down scrapping and not giving up and laying down. You can't be a victim. You've gotta fight and come out and try to win the game."
The victory marked the first time since the 2008-09 season that UW has defeated all three in-state opponents following early season wins at Milwaukee and at Marquette.
The Badgers' first half of play was a different story as Wisconsin scored a season-low 19 first-half points. Green Bay (6-5) outrebounded Wisconsin 25-14 in the first 20 minutes and scored nine second-chance points to take a 32-19 lead into the locker room.
"Well, we made it interesting, that's for sure," said Kelsey. "(Our) first half was really shaky, and we didn't do a very good job of anything.
"Luckily, we were on the good side of this one because we know the other side of it as well. We didn't have a lot of smart plays (in the first half), but at the end we had some very smart plays."
Wisconsin finished the game 23-of-52 (44.2 percent) from the floor, shooting 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. Green Bay shot 19-of-65 (29.2 percent), going 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) beyond the arc.
The Badgers shot 12-of-15 (80.0 percent) from the charity stripe, while the Phoenix were 20-of-30 (66.7 percent).
Johnson posted a game-high 22 points, while Paige finished with 15 and Brown chipped in a season-high 10.
Green Bay had four players score in double figures, led by Breannah Ranger's 15.
The win was the best birthday gift Kelsey could get.
"It was a nice birthday gift," said Kelsey of celebrating her birthday today with the win. "I can breathe now. When you're losing, it's easy to start pointing fingers and being negative. You've gotta just stay together and figure it out.
"This is better than any gift I could've gotten – any material gift. I'd rather have this all day long."
The Badgers will now embark on Big Ten Conference play, traveling to Illinois on Friday, Jan. 3 for a 7 p.m. game against the Illini.
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