Upset-minded Badgers fall just short of beating Ohio St. at home

first_imgUW senior guard Rae Lin D\’Alie had 12 points and a game-high eight assists in the Badgers\’ unsuccessful upset bid of Ohio State.[/media-credit]Seeing as the Badger State has a long tradition of brewing, it seemed fitting the conversation following the Wisconsin women’s basketball team’s disappointing 83-78 loss to No. 7 Ohio State (26-3, 14-2) kept coming back to bottling — even though it wasn’t talk about beer.“Sometimes we don’t execute our game plan as I suppose we should, but our hearts (are) out there,” junior guard Alyssa Karel, who finished with a team-high 21 points — including seven in the final three minutes — said. “Like Coach [Lisa Stone] said in the locker room, we have to bottle it up and bring it to Michigan because it stings a lot.”And bottling it up and looking forward was pretty much all Wisconsin (18-8, 8-7) could do after letting an opportunity to beat a top-10 Big Ten foe for the first time since 2001 slip away.Despite scoring a season-high 78 points, outrebounding a team that on average outrebounds opponents by six-and-a-half (best in the league) and posting one of its more impressive assist-to-turnover ratios of the season (4:3), Wisconsin simply couldn’t overcome the talent and depth of the Buckeyes.In assessing the final minutes of the contest, Ohio State coach Jim Foster said the difference was his team’s ability to make plays when it had to.“We made the right decisions at the right times and made shots that we had to make and stops that we had to make, and that’s what I think wins for you at this time of year,” Foster said. “The conversation before the game was that this team plays very, very hard, and we have to match their energy if we’re going to win the basketball game, and I think we did that.”In addition to making plays at the end of the game, OSU also stepped up its intensity to close the first half. After a Jade Davis layup and a Teah Gant jumper gave the Badgers a four-point advantage with 1:35 remaining in the half, the Buckeyes capitalized on three UW turnovers and scored the final nine points of the frame to take a 37-32 lead to the locker room.The majority of the second half consisted of the two teams trading baskets back and forth, with Ohio State methodically building a 10-point lead with just 3:14 left.At that point, a Karel jumper ignited a frantic comeback effort that saw the Badgers cut the lead to two, 74-76, after Karel hit a three with just 34 seconds on the clock.Unfortunately for the home team, the Buckeyes — a 75 percent free throw shooting team — were able to salt the game away at the line, sinking 8-of-9 in the last minute, including 4-of-4 from sophomore point guard Samantha Prahalis, who extended her consecutive free throw streak to 47 and finished with a game-high 25 points.And as Prahalis did damage from the perimeter, the visitors’ anchor in the post, junior all-American Jantel Lavender, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, recorded her 16th double-double of the season and 53rd of her career. Lavender had 23 points and 12 rebounds in 40 minutes.The win for Ohio State made it 16 in a row over Wisconsin and improved its season record, when scoring over 70 points, to 22-0.While the loss was tough to swallow, the Badgers showed glimpses of unprecedented offensive prowess.Four players — Karel, freshman guard Taylor Wurtz, senior guard Rae Lin D’Alie and junior forward Lin Zastrow — reached double figures for the Badgers, who shot a respectable 47 percent on the night.Wisconsin also saw its reserves outscore the Buckeyes’ subs 29-5 on the strength of Davis’ nine and Wurtz’ 18. After picking up four fouls in just six minutes in the Badgers’ previous game, Wurtz sunk her first seven shots against the Buckeyes and also grabbed eight boards.Though the game was much more fast-paced than Wisconsin is used to, Foster said he was pleased to see the game unfold in such exciting offensive fashion.“Quite frankly, it’s the kind of game I’d like to see more in the Big Ten,” he said. “It’s a conference that I look and see scores in the 40s and 50s — I think if you ask the people that were at this game, it was a heck of a lot more entertaining than one that turns into a mud-wrestling match.”No matter how the Badgers’ game manifests against Michigan on Sunday, however, it can be certain the team will be bringing a six-pack of sour flavor to Ann Arbor.“Certainly [this was] a courageous battle for our basketball team,” Stone said. “We played our hearts out out there and I’m really proud of our team for that … I like how hard we played, and that’s something that we’ve got to lean on. I’ll repeat it again, [we need to] bottle it up and take it to Michigan.”last_img

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