Badgers women's basketball drops 6th straight game - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers women's basketball drops 6th straight game

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Per UW Athletics) -- The Wisconsin women’s basketball team put together a pair of impressive comebacks against No. 16 Ohio State, but the Badgers ultimately fell to the Buckeyes 70-61 on Thursday night.

Wisconsin (5-14 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) showed promise against the Buckeyes (16-5, 6-1), rallying in the second quarter from a nine-point deficit to make it a one-point game at halftime and before going on a 12-0 run late in the fourth quarter.

 “I think throughout the whole game we had great fight. When you outrebound one of the top teams in the country, I felt like the effort was really good,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “We got to that point right away coming out of the locker room, we got to the free-throw line and went up one. I thought we were more under control tonight than at any other point in the Big Ten slate so far.

“That’s how we felt would give us a chance to the game. They had two fastbreak points, this is a team that up until the last two games has been in the 90’s in every Big Ten game and we thought that would give us the best chance to win. I thought Kendra (Van Leeuwen) and Ashley (Kelsick) did a really good job controlling the tempo and we were able to run through our actions. Obviously Suzanne Gilreath getting shots was big but I just thought a lot of people came up with big offensive rebounds.

UW fell behind quickly in the first period, trailing 11-2 by the 7:29 mark with only one baseline drive from Cayla McMorris getting them on the board at 8:28. The Buckeyes went up by as much as 12 in the next three minute behind a 3-point basket by Kelsey Mitchell, the Big Ten’s preseason player of the year.

Wisconsin stayed behind by double figures until a triple from Gilreath cut Ohio State’s lead down to nine at 1:25, giving the Buckeyes a 17-8 advantage headed into the second.

But the Badgers assembled easily one of their best comebacks of the season in the second period, hitting 57 percent (8-14) from the field. UW cut the deficit to single-digits (19-11) thanks to a layup from Marsha Howard at 8:40 soon after McMorris converted a free throw.

The Buckeyes laid it in one more time at 7:40 for their last double-digit lead of the half (21-11), which would soon be knocked down thanks to a three-point bomb from freshman Kendra Van Leeuwen. From then on, the momentum stayed in the Badgers’ corner after seeing some big buckets from Courtney Fredrickson and Avyanna Young.

Gilreath gave the Cardinal and White the ammo that it needed with a trey to bring UW within three (24-21) with three minutes left in the half. Mitchell quickly counteracted with a 3-pointer of her own but Gilreath came right back with a 3-point rebuttal to elevate the Badgers back within three. A jumper from Fredrickson made it the closest it had been all game, with Wisconsin only down by one (27-26) but once again Mitchell had an answer. But just as soon as Mitchell could get the Buckeyes back up, the Badgers had a counterstrike as Ashley Kelsick banked a jumper to keep the Buckeyes’ lead down to just one point at the halftime mark.

However, Ohio State ran away in the third quarter collecting a massive 29 points to take a 58-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Kendall Shaw tied the score at 29-29 right at the start with a free throw and then nailed her second shot from the courtesy to hand Wisconsin its first and only lead of the game. The Buckeyes quickly rebounded with two jumpers from Alexa Hart within one minute to let them steal back a four-point lead (34-30) within the first two minutes of the period.

That jump started a 7-0 run for Ohio State that wasn’t broken up until Kelsick drained a 3-pointer at 6:26 to bring the Badgers back within four (37-33).

But a 10-3 Buckeye run put them back ahead by 11 (47-36) with under four minutes to play. A fastbreak Mitchell jumper helped OSU to a 14-point advantage at the two-minute mark in the third, which was followed up by a big Ohio State run that put the Buckeyes ahead 58-39 after three periods.

“I challenged them at the third quarter and told them we can’t go back and fix the third quarter, all we can do is play the best fourth quarter,” Tsipis said. “And here’s how we’re going to play the best fourth quarter, get on the glass, take better care of the basketball. Make sure we get a shot attempt every coming down.”

The Badgers put together another huge comeback in the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run that had them at a six-point deficit with only a minute remaining. However, UW dropped one of its toughest road tests of the season with a final score of 70-61 at Value City Arena.

“It’s a two possession game with a minute left to go on a team’s home floor, I thought the kids had great buy-in with that,” Tsipis added. “I’m proud of how we finished, I thought we played better in the second and fourth.”

Wisconsin was led by Gilreath who tallied 15 points on a career-best five 3-pointers.

The Badgers outrebounded the Buckeyes, who rank first in the Big Ten for rebounding offense and have the highest-ranked rebounder in the conference, 42-35. The Badgers’ efforts on the boards were led by Malayna Johnson, who brought down a team-high seven.

“I have great respect for Kevin (McGuff) and what he’s built,” Tsipis said. “I’m really proud of our kids, I thought they battled for 40 minutes tonight and I thought we’ve gotten better. We’ve gotten better than how we were at Penn State the other night, there wasn’t a disconnect or anything like that. Whoever was in the game, our bench was live and in action and hopefully we can carry that forward next week.”

It was milestone day for Young, who hit the 900-point mark in her college career.

After a two-game road swing, Wisconsin has the weekend off before facing Michigan State in Madison. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

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