Badgers beat MSU in finale

first_imgWomen\’s basketball guard Jade Davis scored 11 points as the Badgers topped Michigan State at the Kohl Center.[/media-credit]The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team, plagued by recent late-game collapses, was able to hold off Michigan State and send senior center Caitlin Gibson out on a winning note, beating the Spartans 54-51 on Senior Day Sunday afternoon.Leading 54-51 after two Jade Davis free throws, Wisconsin survived three Spartan 3-point attempts as time eventually ran out. Four Badgers scored in double figures, with Alyssa Karel leading the way with 12 points. Lin Zastrow, Tara Steinbauer and Davis all chipped in with 11 points. Gibson started the game, played eight minutes and recorded two rebounds in probably her last home game as a Badger.Lykendra Johnson led the Spartans with 12 points while Allyssa DeHaan and Kalisha Keane chipped in with 11 points apiece.“I’m very proud of this basketball team,” Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. “They have fought and clawed the entire year, and this was a team victory over the top team in conference. We did what we had to do to get it done today.”Maybe the two biggest points of the night came when Davis hit two free throws with 24 seconds left after grabbing the rebound off a DeHaan miss. Ironically, this came after missed free throws down the stretch cost Wisconsin in their games against Purdue and Indiana.“When I went to the line, I thought about the free throws like it was the beginning of the second half and they weren’t going to mean much,” Davis said. “I just thought about them as practice.”Stone was impressed not only by Davis’ clutch shooting but also with her play throughout the game.“Those were big free throws,” Stone said. “Jade gave us a tremendous spark, not just with her free throws. She made a couple 3-pointers and had a nice drive to the basket. I told our freshmen that they were no longer freshmen. We’re far beyond that now and they should step up and be ready to play. So far, they’re doing a really good job.”However, Michigan State still had multiple opportunities to tie the game with only seconds left. Mia Johnson, Aisha Jefferson and Keane all had decent 3-point chances after grabbing offensive rebounds, but their shots didn’t fall.“I thought we were doing a pretty good job,” Steinbauer said. “We boxed out, but they were just long rebounds. At that moment, you’re frantically trying to get the rebound, but I wouldn’t call the missed shots lucky because we fought all game long and we definitely deserved this one.”After starting a game on the bench for the first time in her college career the last time the Badgers played Michigan State, Rae Lin D’Alie was back in the starting lineup Sunday.“Rae really helped us when there was pressure,” Stone said. “We really struggled with that when we were at their place and did much better today. Rae was great in terms of being aggressive and attacking their pressure.”Wisconsin’s defense, which had struggled the past few games, also got back on track. The Badgers held the Spartans to only 36.5 percent shooting, including only 32.1 percent in the second half, and forced 23 turnovers. Those turnovers led to 18 points for Wisconsin.The Badgers were also able to contain DeHaan, who at 6-foot-9-inches, is almost a half-foot taller than Wisconsin’s tallest player. Though DeHaan had a productive day, she was never able to dominate down low thanks to Zastrow.Senior Day also brought out the largest crowd of the season with over 14,000 fans packing into the Kohl Center.“It was awesome,” D’Alie said. “If we could get a crowd like that every game, it would be great for us. They got behind us, and I really think they gave us some energy, too.”“The crowd’s energy was just infectious for us,” Steinbauer said. “I think in the second half, we felt some of that energy surging through us. It was just a great feeling.”last_img

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