Badgers women down Louisiana Tech in season opener - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers women down Louisiana Tech in season opener

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MADISON, Wis. – In a dominating Saturday afternoon game at the Kohl Center, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team marched past Louisiana Tech, 79-65, to begin the regular season. The Badgers (1-0) were paced by strong offensive efforts, as four players scored in double digits.

Louisiana Tech head coach Tyler Summitt spoke volumes about an experienced Badger squad.

"I definitely want to credit Wisconsin and their staff and their team,” Summitt said. “They looked like a well-oiled machine and a veteran team, so you got to credit them for this game and their coaching staff for a great game plan. I thought the third quarter was the difference, the way they responded after halftime was very impressive and we could not match their intensity.”

Despite only playing 30 minutes of the game, senior Dakota Whyte lead the Badgers with 16 points on the night, as the point guard tallied five field goals and sank all six of her free throw attempts.

Close behind Whyte was senior Nicole Bauman, who collected 14 points for the Badgers.

Returning to the floor after sitting out last season due to injury, senior Michala Johnson made her presence known with 13 points and five rebounds, while only playing 20 minutes of the game.

Junior Avyanna Young was the fourth Badger to score in double-digits tonight, as the forward tallied 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Badgers were not only hot on offense, but defensively too. Tessa Cichy paved the way with 16 rebounds, as the senior set a new career high, surpassing her old mark of 10 boards.

“Tessa had 16 rebounds – wow. What can we say?” Kelsey said. “She’s just a determined young lady and wants to get that basketball. We’re very proud of the effort.”

Wisconsin started out slow in the beginning of the game, but built up offensive and defensive efforts throughout the game to come out on top of Louisiana Tech (0-1).

The Lady Techsters began the scoring momentum, as they took a 5-0 lead in the first quarter. However, Cichy ended the run and threw up a quick turnaround jump shot to put the Badgers on the board.

Momentum switched back-and-forth between the teams throughout the first quarter, but the Badgers battled back to only a two-point gap heading into the second quarter thanks to a quick step-back jump shot from Whyte.

Whyte continued the momentum into the second quarter with a quick 2-pointer, drawing the and-1 opportunity. She sank the free throw to give Wisconsin its first lead of the game, 19-18.

The Lady Techsters answered quickly with a layup of their own to take back the lead, but Cichy’s 3-pointer to follow kept the Badgers on top.

A 7-0 run for Louisiana Tech left the Badgers trailing by five, but Johnson made a strong drive through traffic to put the ball in for two, cutting the Techsters’ lead to only three points.

Louisiana Tech followed with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to six, but a pair of free throws apiece from Whyte and Bauman brought the game to a 2-point gap.

The Badgers battled the Lady Techsters throughout the rest of the second quarter, and finished the half trailing by only one, 36-35, heading into the locker room.

Wisconsin returned to the court after halftime firing on offense, as Johnson started the third quarter with a quick pair of layups to bring the Badgers up, 39-36. From this point on, the Badgers stayed on top for the rest of the game.

A series of free throws from both sides brought the score to 48-40 in the middle of the third quarter. Bauman increased the lead to 52-40, as she made a trey under pressure to draw the foul. She sank the free throw for the 4-point play.

The Badgers found opportunities directly under the net, as the Badgers kept firing offensively.

The Lady Techsters attempted to close the scoring gap, but the Badgers were too much to handle as they finished the third quarter on top, 62-51. UW outscored LA Tech 27-15 in the third quarter.

Despite a Louisiana Tech 8-0 run paced by a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the Badgers held on and buckled down defensively.

Johnson ended the streak with a pair of layups to bring the Badgers further ahead, 77-64, as Young closed out the game for Wisconsin with a hook shot.

Louisiana Tech ended the game at the free-throw line sinking one of two attempts, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the large gap, as the Badgers defeated the Lady Techsters, 79-65.

“I’m very proud of the team, this was a tough opponent,” Kelsey said. “It was a good opponent for us to start out with. We knew they would come out and be aggressive and hit shots. I thought that we made some adjustments at halftime and we really came out and did those things.”

The Badgers close out their four-game home stand on Wednesday, as they host Drake in a 7 p.m. (CT) game at the Kohl Center.

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