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Friday, February 23, 2024
Anya Covington

Senior forward Anya Covington’s game-high 20 points was not enough as Wisconsin took the loss at Penn State.

Women's Basketball: Cold start dooms Badgers

Three days after setting the school record for the most three-pointers made in a game, the Wisconsin women's basketball team couldn't get anything to fall from behind the three-point line. The Badgers shot 1-for-12 from three-point range in a 69-54 road loss to No. 18 Penn State (9-3 Big Ten, 19-5 overall) Thursday night.

Wisconsin (4-8, 8-16) was boosted by the return of senior forward Anya Covington, who had missed the previous two games due to illness and was a game-time decision for Thursday's game. She came off the bench and scored 20 points in only 24 minutes of action, leading all scorers in the game despite the limited playing time.

"She's coming off a scary episode with chest pains, so we wanted to get her back slowly," head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. "I didn't want the next game to be her first game, then you have a whole week. I didn't realize she had 20 points to be honest with you."

It was a tough night for Wisconsin's guards, who weren't able to make much of an impact on the offensive end of the floor. Junior guard Taylor Wurtz finished with 11 points, her fewest in a game since going scoreless in a Jan. 5 victory over Purdue. Sophomore Morgan Paige shot 0-for-4 from the field and finished with two points.

In Monday's loss to Ohio State, the Badgers attempted only one free throw all game and made none, both record lows for Wisconsin. That wasn't a problem against the Nittany Lions, as the Badgers got to the free throw line 17 times and sunk 15 of them. But unlike Monday's game, Wisconsin did not shoot well from three-point range, and Kelsey thought her team was passing up too many three-point opportunities.

"We didn't hit the shots that were open and people were being hesitant," Kelsey said. "Taylor [Wurtz] was very hesitant. I don't know why she didn't shoot the ball. Maybe if you ask her she will tell you because I don't know. That is someone we really depend on to shoot the three."

The Nittany Lions relied on a balanced offensive effort to hold the lead from their first basket to the final buzzer. Four players scored in double-digits for PSU, including sophomore guard Maggie Lucas, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year. As a team, the Nittany Lions shot 48.3 percent from the field and 40 percent on three-pointers.

"That is a great team over there," Kelsey said. "All of them can shoot. They have people that can handle the ball and create their own shot and we don't have a lot of that, so that hurt us tonight."

Wisconsin has a one-week layoff to rest and regroup before its hosts Michigan State next Thursday at the Kohl Center. It will be the first and only regular season meeting between the two teams.

UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.

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