Women's College Basketball: Wisconsin Falls to Marquette 81-75 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Women's College Basketball: Wisconsin Falls to Marquette 81-75

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A strong third quarter wasn’t enough for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team as it fell to in-state rival Marquette, 81-75, on Sunday afternoon in the Kohl Center.

“You break games down into smaller battles and there was a giant battle for us to come back at halftime, and I thought the third quarter may have been one of our more complete quarters of the year,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.

“I was really excited with the third quarter and then we lost our aggressiveness and you could see that in the press offense. … it’s a reason that we allow somebody to shoot a really high percentage in the fourth quarter, and get to the free-throw line.

“Hats off to Marquette, they kept with the press. I thought we did a good job for about three and a half quarters of it, but not for all four. I think that’s the difference you see. ”

The Badgers outscored the Golden Eagles 25-15 in the third period to lead 53-52 after three quarters. Two free throws by Cayla McMorris extended Wisconsin’s lead to 55-52 with 9:28 to play but that’s when Marquette upped its pressure.

Using a full-court press, the Golden Eagles forced five UW turnovers and went on a 15-0 run to take a 67-55 lead with 7:04 on the clock.

“I’m not sure it’s a matter of closing out a game, it’s more so that you can never flinch against a press,” explained Tsipis. “That’s part of what Marquette does – they change defenses, they change presses. We have to be like NFL cornerbacks and have a short memory. We have to forget our mistakes and move on to the next three. If we let two or three of them link together, it enables them to get to the line and into the bonus off those turnovers.”

The Badgers didn’t hit a field goal until Suzanne Gilreath made a 3-pointer with 6:31 remaining to make it a 67-58 game. With a 6-2 run, Wisconsin cut the lead to five (69-64) with 4:38 to play but would get no closer. Three UW fouls sent Marquette to the line where it made 5-of-6 to up its lead to 76-64 with 3:39 left.

Eight straight points from Marsha Howard, who finished with a career-high 20 points, pulled the Badgers back within six (78-72) but Wisconsin was then forced to foul. The Golden Eagles made 3-of-6 from the courtesy stripe to seal the win.

“I thought Marsha did a great job of establishing herself on the block, in our pick-and-roll action around the rim, she just really took her time and got herself balanced,” said Tsipis.

Wisconsin shot 49.2 percent (29-59) from the field, its second-highest field goal percentage of the season, while Marquette shot 42.2 percent (27-64). The Golden Eagles were 9-28 (32.1 percent) from 3-point range compared to 6-14 (42.9 percent) for the Badgers.

McMorris led Wisconsin with 21 points while Gilreath added 12 points, hitting four 3-pointers.

“I thought Cayla really diversified, she put the ball on the ground, she found her pull-up, just being able to do those two things were huge for us,” added Tsipis. “When Cayla fouled out, I think the thing I’m most proud of her in the whole game is that she kept talking on the bench, to her teammates of how we were right there.

Marquette won the rebounding game, 39-31, including 13 offensive boards, scoring 17 second-chance points. The Golden Eagles also had nine steals, scoring 25 points off 19 UW turnovers.

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 9-4 lead with just over five minutes to play before two-straight buckets by Howard cut the lead to 9-8 with 3:58 on the clock. An 8-0 run put Marquette up 17-10 with 41 seconds to play in the first before Suzanne Gilreath hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to make it 17-13 at the end of one.

Wisconsin scored two straight to kick off the second quarter and tie the score at 17 with just under nine minutes to play but the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run to lead 24-17 with 7:13 on the clock.Marquette upped its lead to 33-23 with 2:52 to play in the half before a 5-0 Badger run made it a 33-28 game with 1:18 to go. MU scored four points in the last minute to lead 37-28 at the break.

The Golden Eagles hit a jumper 20 seconds into the third quarter and take their largest lead of the game at 39-28. But that’s when the Badgers began their comeback. Two 3-pointers by Gilreath keyed an 11-4 run to pull UW within four (43-39) with 5:13 on the clock.

A jumper from Howard made it a one-point game, 46-45, with 3:09 to play in the third while the forward scored two more from the field to knot the score at 49 with 1:50 remaining. Two free throws from Abby Laszewski and a layup by McMorris gave the Badgers their first lead of the game at 53-52 with 41 seconds left in the period.

The Badgers wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule, traveling to Green Bay on Thursday. Tip time is 7 p.m. from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

(UW Athletics contributed to this article.)

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