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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Badgers overwhelmed by Marquette despite valiant effort from McMorris, Howard

In what was arguably Wisconsin’s (4-8) most well-played game of the season, the Badgers could not pull off the upset Sunday and knock off in-state rival Marquette. The Golden Eagles (7-2) escaped Madison with a 81-75 victory Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles came to the Kohl Center with three players averaging double-digit points on the year, and those players stepped up Sunday as they have all season. Sophomore guard Allazia Blockton, who entered Sunday’s game scoring 18.5 points per game, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Sophomore guard Natisha Hiedeman, averaging 13.5 points, finished with 17 points, three rebounds and seven assists.

Marquette took an early lead, outscoring Wisconsin 17-13 in the first quarter and did not give up that lead until the third quarter had come to an end.

“We lost our aggressiveness,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “You could see that in the press offense … I thought we did a good job for about three and a half quarters with it, but not all four.”

With 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter, freshman guard Suzanne Gilreath knocked down a 3-pointer to bring the Badgers within four points to end the quarter.

The Badgers were unable to get to the free-throw line at all in the first half, and their first attempts came from junior guard Cayla McMorris early in the third quarter. They were kept afloat in the second quarter solely by McMorris’ offensive efforts and the team’s aggressive defensive play. Wisconsin entered halftime down nine, 37-28.

“The third quarter may have been one of our more complete quarters of the year,” Tsipis said.

McMorris stepped to the free-throw line for the first time all game early in the third quarter and split the pair, which opened up some scoring for the Badgers.

“When you get to the free-throw line, you get shots within the paint, and you get shots in transition it builds your confidence,” coach Tsipis said.

After a late Marquette basket, freshman forward Abby Laszewski found herself at the free-throw line, down two, and successfully knocked down both free throws to tie the game, 51-51, with one minute left in the quarter.

Wisconsin outscored Marquette 25-15 in the third and entered the fourth quarter up one.

Marquette’s press defense brought more problems in the fourth quarter. A turnover on a Wisconsin throw-in led to a Marquette basket which gave the Golden Eagles a 12-point lead and forced Tsipis to call a timeout.

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The nail in the coffin came at the 4:23 mark when McMorris drew her fifth foul and was forced to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines. She ended the night with 21 points, two rebounds, five assists and two turnovers.

“When Cayla fouled out, I think the thing I’m most proud of is she kept talking, on the bench and to her teammates,” Tsipis said.

Sophomore forward Marsha Howard ended the night with 20 points, six rebounds and two assists. Eight of Howard’s points came in the third quarter.

“I though Marsha did a great job of establishing herself on the block,” Tsipis said. “And I thought Cayla really diversified, she put the ball on the ground, she found her pull-up, just being able to do those two things were huge for us.”

Wisconsin will hit the road this Thursday to take on another in-state team in UW-Green Bay. It will be the Badgers’ last game before a long break prior to Big Ten conference play. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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