Badgers survive Warriors second-half surge to give Tsipis first - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers survive Warriors second-half surge to give Tsipis first win at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (Per UW Athletics) -- The Wisconsin women’s basketball team survived a second-half comeback by Winona State to take home a 78-71 exhibition win in the Kohl Center.

“The reason you have exhibition is games is to kind of see where you’re at, what you need to work on and get yourself ready,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said of his first game at Wisconsin. “The same reason I think you have non-conference games is to adapt to all kinds of different styles and I think that part of where our team is right now is growing.”

Thanks to a balanced effort from the Badgers to start the game, UW entered the second half with a comfortable 41-19 lead. The Warriors, however, came out with a vengeance and made the Badgers fight for every point.

Led by senior guard Tara Roelofs, Winona State’s hot shooting streak brought the Warriors within five points (59-54) as they outscored the Badgers 35-18 in the third quarter. Despite back-to-back threes by freshman Courtney Fredrickson to bring the score to 57-42, the Warriors closed the quarter on a 12-2 run.

Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Badgers saw their lead dwindle to just three points (62-59) after yet another Roelofs triple paired with a layup by Kayla Timmerman.

Junior Cayla McMorris put up another three and back-to-back baskets by senior Avyanna Young brought it to 69-61 with 6:27 remaining. But Roelofs couldn’t be stopped as she put up five more points to bring the Warriors within three once again (69-66) with 4:37 to play.

A clutch three by freshman Courtney Fredrickson combined with a McMorris layup brought the score to 75-68 and forced Winona State to call a timeout with 1:37 remaining.

Roelofs made two free throws to cut the Badger lead to five (75-70) with 1:18 on the clock, but McMorris later blocked Roelofs’ shot and senior Kendall Shaw’s rebound gave UW possession with 18 seconds left on the clock.

Remaining calm under pressure, McMorris made both free throws to give Wisconsin a seven-point lead at 77-70 with just 16 seconds left. That was all the Badgers need to take the win.  

McMorris led the Badgers with 20 points, followed by Fredrickson with 19 in her collegiate debut. Young put up 13 and Shaw added 12 to round out the Badgers in double-digits.

Roelofs had a game-high 29 points.  

The Badgers shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from the 3-point line to contribute to 45 percent field goal shooting (27-of-60), while the Warriors finished with a 40.9 (27-of-66) from the field. After failing to hit a 3-pointer in the first half, WSU finished the game 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from deep.  

On the boards, Shaw led UW with 10 rebounds in her Badger debut while Van Leeuwen and Young each tallied six. Both teams recorded 38 rebounds in total.

Van Leeuwen also added eight of the Badgers 18 team assists and four steals in her first game as a Badger. Wisconsin turned the ball over 13 times while the Warriors gave it up 12 times.

After trading a pair of baskets to start the game, Shaw’s jumper sparked a 7-0 run to pull ahead with a 9-4 lead with 6:12 to play in the quarter. The Warriors came within three points (9-6), but that was as close as the score would get all game as back-to-back threes by Suzanne Gilreath spurred an 8-0 UW run to close out the first quarter with the Badgers up 22-11.  

To open the second quarter, the Badgers unleashed a 10-0 run to go up 32-13 with 7:24 to play in the half behind four different scorers. Winona State managed to make two consecutive jumpers to end the run, but McMorris silenced the Warrior bench by shooting back-to-back threes, putting UW up 38-19 with 1:43 on the clock.

With six seconds left on the clock, McMorris wasn’t done yet as she notched the rebound and put up a buzzer-beating three to end the half on a high note and record three-straight triples for a 41-19 halftime advantage for UW.

“What I’m asking for them is let’s continue to make strides moving forward and knowing that we might have a bad possession, a bad quarter, let’s not let that snowball. Let’s get back together and make sure we know what we can be, a team that’s going to be able to compete,” Tsipis said.

The Badgers conclude their preseason slate against UW-Stout on Tuesday 8 in the Kohl Center at 7 p.m. Wisconsin kicks off its regular season against Charlotte on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

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