The Wisconsin women's basketball team began its defense as the best team in the state with a 64-55 victory over the UW-Milwaukee Panthers at the Klotsche Center Thursday evening. Controlling both ends of the court for the majority of the game and at one point leading by 14, the Badgers cruised to their second win of the young season.
The Badgers were led by several outstanding performances. Junior forward Tara Steinbauer led the team in scoring with 15 points. Her seven rebounds were eclipsed only by junior guard/forward Lin Zastrow, who finished with eight boards along with 10 points.
Also leading Wisconsin in the stats column was senior guard Rae Lin D'Alie, who scored 14 points, and freshman guard Taylor Wurtz, who collected 11.
Although UW-Milwaukee battled tough in the game, at one point taking the lead with just under nine minutes left in the second half, Wisconsin's clutch shooting on the foul line (9-of-12) and nine 3-pointers were ultimately just too much for the Panthers.
A late 8-0 rally by the Badgers in the second half, highlighted by two 3-pointers from D'Alie, put the Badgers ahead 57-49 with just under four minutes remaining.
From there, the Badgers remained strong on offense and stayed tough on defense, securing the win.
Wisconsin came out strong in the opening minutes of the game, going on a 15-4 run to open the first seven minutes. A last second layup by Wurtz put the Badgers up 35-29 at halftime.
""This is a tough place to play, and we'll take the win,"" UW head coach Lisa Stone said. ""When you're on the road, you expect to have some adverse situations, but I'm proud of our kids for overcoming those situations.""
Although UW-Milwaukee out-rebounded the Badgers 42-31, the Panthers turned the ball over 20 times in the game, including 11 Wisconsin steals. Leading the Badgers in that category was D'Alie with four.
UW-Milwaukee was led in scoring by junior forward Lindsay Laur with 19 points, and junior center Jenilee Klomstad recorded a double-double for the Panthers with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Badgers return home this Sunday to the Kohl Center to take on Cleveland State at 1:30 p.m.
—uwbadgers.com contributed to this report.