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Monday, September 25, 2023
cassandra darrah

Lights-out pitching from senior Cassandra Darrah helped UW win 13 straight this season.

Top sports moments of spring 2014

Badgers' Final Four run

Wisconsin triggered a campus-wide celebration March 29 after defeating No. 1 seed Arizona in the NCAA Tournament. The Badger victory not only ignited State Street, but also gave the team a spot in the Final Four for the first time since 2000.

Arizona, regarded by many as the most complete team in the tournament, received a little taste of its own medicine from a disciplined UW team.

Led by junior forward Frank Kaminsky, the Badgers showcased to the nation that tough defense and a balanced offensive attack was the perfect recipe to match up with a dominant team like Arizona.

At halftime of what was a low-scoring affair, UW trailed the Wildcats 28-25.

The second half became a back-and-forth thriller, as neither team could completely separate from the other. It would remain this way until the final seconds of the half when Arizona freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunked the ball home to send the game to overtime.

Kaminsky put UW up by one point with just over a minute left in overtime.

The Wildcats had a chance to win the game, as they had a sideline inbound opportunity near their own basket with just 2.3 seconds to play.

Arizona’s leading scorer and junior guard Nick Johnson got the ball on the inbound, but failed to get the shot off before the buzzer sounded, leaving the Badgers on top.

The memorable victory sent Bo Ryan to his first Final Four as UW’s head coach, and proved Wisconsin’s capability on the big stage.

Wisconsin wins inaugural Big Ten Hockey Tournament

This season, six teams from across collegiate hockey came together for the first-ever Big Ten hockey tournament.

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During the weekend-long event held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., Wisconsin, along with Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, all fought for the right to be crowned inaugural tournament champions.

Wisconsin finished the regular season second in the conference, earning it a bye through the first round.

Wisconsin defeated Penn State 2-1 in the semi-final round, and after Ohio State upset Minnesota, the Badgers and

Buckeyes were ready to square off for the trophy.

With seven minutes left in the third period and Ohio State holding on to a 4-2 lead, Wisconsin’s chances of bringing the Big Ten trophy back to Madison seemed to be fading quickly.

However, backed by their veteran stars, the Badgers tied up the game on goals behind forwards Jefferson Dahl and Tyler Barnes, effectively sending the game into overtime.

After a back-and-forth battle in overtime, forward Mark Zengerle netted the game-winner to lift Wisconsin to the championship.

The victory also gave Wisconsin a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Softball ties school-record 13-game win streak

From April 9 to April 26, Wisconsin did not lose a single game. After an April 6 loss to Minnesota, the Badgers rattled off 13 straight wins, tying the team’s win-streak record, after setting it last year.

The run could not have come at a better time for the Badgers. After battling through a demanding early-season non-conference schedule that pitted UW against eight ranked opponents, Wisconsin found itself sitting at 17-15.

Wisconsin’s April 9 doubleheader sweep over North Dakota provided a preview of the team’s winning formula, however. The Badgers won 11-2 and 17-1, displaying a balanced offensive attack coupled with dominant pitching. Although UW did not replicate this scoring output again during the streak, the precedent for the next three weeks of play had been set.

Wisconsin outscored its opponents 88-34 during the streak. The pitching tandem of senior Cassandra Darrah and sophomore Taylor-Paige Stewart blossomed in the month of April, and both pitchers were able to establish consistency that had evaded them during the opening stretch of the season.

The reliability of Darrah and Stewart was complemented by a high-powered offense that contributed 6.8 runs per game. Senior left fielder Mary Massei, senior third baseman Michelle Mueller and freshman catcher Chloe Miller spearheaded a scoring effort that gave Darrah and Stewart breathing room in the circle.

The Badgers took advantage of the home-field advantage provided by Goodman Diamond, as Wisconsin had to play just three contests on the road during the 13-game streak.

Wisconsin’s hot month of April moved it to fourth place in the Big Ten and propelled Wisconsin to its fourth-straight 30-win season.

Traevon Jackson's last-second shot against Michigan State


If it weren’t for some very fun games in March, February’s victory over Michigan State, featuring a last-second basket from mercurial junior guard Traevon Jackson, would have likely gone down as the most memorable highlight of the Badgers’ season.


At the time, Wisconsin had lost five of its last seven games, with its only wins coming against lowly Purdue and Illinois. Ranked No. 3 in the country just a month before, the Badgers had fallen out of the rankings.


The home date against No. 8 Michigan State was quite possibly the last chance the Badgers had to build a convincing Big Ten win streak and show fans their undefeated 16-0 start was for real.


The Badgers took that chance and delivered. Freshman forward Nigel Hayes led the team in points with 14, taking minutes from foul-troubled Frank Kaminsky, reaching the foul line 12 times. Wisconsin held a lead for almost the entire second half, but a 3-pointer from Michigan State senior center Adreian Payne tied the game with 12 seconds to go.


Eight days prior, Jackson had a chance to win the game at home against Ohio State and failed, smothered by Ohio State senior guard Aaron Craft. Once again, he was lamented for holding onto the ball, showing what some called confidence, others arrogance.


With another chance Jackson took the ball, ran downcourt, crossed over Spartan sophomore guard Gary Harris, pulled up and swished the 15-foot jumper. Cue celebrations, cue the revival of the Badgers season.


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