In the annual “Think Pink” game, Wisconsin took the court covered in pink from headbands to shoelaces. With the new gear, the Badgers (2-12 Big Ten, 7-20 overall) secured their second conference win with a 53-41 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-11, 6-21).
In what was a closely contested game for the first three quarters, the Badgers entered the final period with a slim 35-33 lead and didn't register a field goal in the first five minutes of the quarter. The fourth quarter had been an Achilles' heel for this team, as they had continually fallen flat in crunch time.
Yet, led by redshirt senior forward Avyanna Young and junior guard Cayla McMorris, the Badgers were able to pull away from the Scarlet Knights thanks to the charity stripe. Young registered 14 points on 8-of-11 from the line to go along with six rebounds. McMorris had 10 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the line.
“I’ve been doing this long enough. There’s no such thing as a good loss and there’s no such thing as a bad win,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
Wisconsin held Rutgers without a field goal in the second quarter, the first time the Badgers have done that all season, and took a five-point lead into halftime as Rutgers amassed just two points via free throws.
It was a sloppy game on both ends, as the two teams combined to turn the ball over 47 times, with the Badgers committing 25 and Rutgers committing 22. Wisconsin was able to make the Scarlet Knights pay, however, with 19 points off turnovers.
“We weren’t at our best offensively today, you know, we turned it over 25 times,” Tsipis said. “They only scored eight points off that, and that was a big difference from when we played at Piscataway at the beginning of January.”
Sharpshooting freshman guard Suzanne Gilreath upped her streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 20, finishing with six points. She also set the freshman school record for made 3-pointers in a season with 54 and still has two regular season games left to improve that mark.
Freshman guard Kendra Van Leeuwen only had one assist, but hit two 3-pointers––a weapon she has developed throughout the season––and finished with seven points.
“The key word the past three days has been ‘attack,’” Tsipis said.
Tsipis and his team will look to attack Wednesday night against Illinois to string together back-to-back wins for the first time this season.