Howard has career-night but Badgers fall to Michigan State in regular season finale

Junior forward Marsha Howard scored a career-high 28 points, yet UW lost to MSU.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Despite a dominating performance from star forward Marsha Howard, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team dropped its regular season finale, 69-61 to Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., Wednesday night.

The Badgers (2-13 Big Ten, 9-19 overall) fought hard all night against the Spartans (6-9 Big Ten, 16-12 overall) but another late fourth quarter scoring lapse proved to be fatal for the UW cause as Wisconsin ended its season on a six-game losing streak.

Badgers junior forward Cayla McMorris came out hot, scoring 12 of UW’s 16 first quarter points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. But, as efficient as McMorris was in the first quarter, the Badgers only led by two at the end of the first frame.

Neither team was able to break away from each other for most of the game as incremental scoring runs seesawed the margin back-and-forth. After going into halftime down 29-26, the Badgers used an explosive 21-point third quarter to tie the game at 47 heading into the fourth quarter.

Tied at 53 with 7:10 left in the game, a convincing 16-8 scoring run finally helped MSU pull away and upend the Badgers.

While UW held Michigan State to 36.9 percent shooting from the field, the Spartans were able to outrebound Wisconsin, 46-33, and use the extra possessions to generate more scoring opportunities, which proved to be the difference in the game.

Howard led the Badgers with a season-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, as the junior recorded her fifth career double-double. After a brilliant first quarter by McMorris, the senior was held to just three points for the rest of the game and ended up with 15 points.

Outside of its dynamic duo, Wisconsin did not receive much scoring production from its secondary and tertiary options as sophomore guard Suzanne Gilreath, who has provided a scoring-punch off the bench for the Badgers all season long, was held scoreless, and versatile forward Courtney Fredrickson was limited to four points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field.

Michigan State utilized a very balanced scoring offense to bring down the Wisconsin as three players finished in double figures. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points and added six assists while 6’4’’ junior center Jenna Allen posted a 14-point, nine-rebound effort to help Michigan State. Also of note was redshirt-senior Branndais Agee who left her mark in her last game at the Breslin Center as she recorded a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double.

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, Wisconsin will have some time to return home and rest up as it now sets its sites toward Indianapolis. The Badgers will participate in the annual Big Ten conference tournament starting Feb. 28.

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