The Wisconsin women’s basketball team mounted a late comeback against Drake at the Kohl Center Sunday, but ultimately it wasn’t enough, as the Bulldogs took home a 65-54 victory.
Wisconsin (4-7 overall) trailed 39-30 with 15 minutes left to play in the second half, but the Badgers went on a 15-5 run over the next eight minutes to take a 45-44 lead. Wisconsin fueled the run by using a full-court press that forced the Bulldogs into turning the ball over and rushing their shots. But Drake (4-4) showed resiliency and started to take advantage of the press, immediately answering back with a 10-0 run of its own in the next three minutes.
Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey admitted that she should have taken off the press earlier.
“I probably should have called it off a little bit sooner,” Kelsey said. “I think we pressed probably a little bit too long. They did adjust well to it, so I’ll take the blame on that one.”
It was a big win for Drake, who brought a sizable cheering section along with them to Madison. The Bulldogs have two players from the state of Wisconsin on the roster, and both were large contributors against the Badgers. Senior forward Rachael Hackbarth, a Colgate, Wis. native, had 20 points and 11 rebounds, while junior forward Stephanie Running of Oak Creek, Wis. added eight points and seven rebounds. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Drake bench erupted in joy as they celebrated their first road victory of the season.
“Any time a mid-major goes on the road and wins at a Big Ten school, you’re going to see a little bit of celebration,” Drake head coach Amy Stephens said. “It’s a good win for our program.”
The Bulldogs shot the ball well, hitting 50 percent of their three-pointers and shooting 43.1 percent from the field. Drake also attempted a total of 23 free throws for the afternoon, 11 more than the Badgers. With Sunday’s victory, the Bulldogs avenged a 60-49 home defeat to Wisconsin last season.
Despite the loss, Kelsey was still pleased that her team was able to make a run in the second half after trailing for most of the game.
“I was proud of the kids for fighting through that stretch of being down nine at half, and then trying to fight their way back. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage on that, so I’m proud of them. But we wanted to win the game,” Kelsey said.
Wisconsin had another cold shooting game, only hitting 35.1 percent of their field goals. The three balls weren’t falling either, as they missed 19 of their 25 three-point attempts. Senior forward Anya Covington’s performance was a bright spot in the loss, finishing with 10 points and falling just one rebound short of a double-double. Covington also added three steals, two blocks and two assists.
Wisconsin now has an extended break in the schedule as final exams approach. The Badgers will be off for 12 days before taking on in-state rival Green Bay at the Kohl Center Dec. 23.