Wisconsin falters in road slugfest to Nebraska

Senior forward Marsha Howard recently became the seventh Wisconsin player to record 1,000 career points, and will finish her career at the Kohl Center Thursday night against Ohio State.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Trailing by one point with 5.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team had drawn up the perfect play to get itself a game-winning shot opportunity. Well maybe they did. Why just maybe? We’ll never know just good of a play it was as with no timeouts left, the Badgers were unable to inbound the ball and were called for a 5-second violation that gave possession back to Nebraska.

After a pair of made free throws by Cornhuskers guard Maddie Simon, UW freshman guard Niya Beverly was unable to convert a desperation heave just inside half court to tie the game as Wisconsin fell to a very solid Nebraska team on the road 51-48.

The Badgers (9-17 Big Ten, 2-11 overall) came out with a very strong first half, as they led by as much as ten points in the opening quarters. UW was able to execute its offense and handle the Huskers’ pressure well as they took a four-point, 28-24 lead into half behind ten total assists and only coughing up the ball once.

Wisconsin was able to start out hot in the third quarter as it extended it leads to as much as seven. But unfortunately, an inconsistent five-minute stretch to end the third quarter hurt the Badgers and allowed Nebraska to retake the lead at 36-35 with one minute remaining. Badger senior forward Cayla McMorris was able to bang in a long three-point field goal from the top of the key as time expired giving UW a 38-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Trading baskets was the theme of the final frame as both sides fought back-and-forth, unable to break away from each other. It was the Cornhuskers in the end, however, who would prevail as a small 5-0 scoring run by Nebraska proved to be pivotal as it took a 49-46 lead with 2:51 remaining in the game.

With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Badger junior forward Marsha Howard caught the ball on the right block, took her defender middle for two dribbles and converted a layup while getting fouled on a shot-fake, step-through post move. Unfortunately for the Badgers, Howard was unable to convert the And-1 free throw, leaving UW with a 1-point deficit.

Wisconsin was able to get stops and score down the stretch, but just five short seconds proved to be fatal for the prospects of a come-from-behind Badger victory.

Scoring came at a premium in today’s low-scoring affair as UW was led by Howard, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, including scoring 12 of Wisconsin’s 28 first half points. McMorris had a tough day shooting but paced the Badger attack with 11 points and six rebounds of her own.

The Cornhuskers were led by its freshman duo, center Kate Cain who lead Nebraska with 14 points and nine rebounds and guard Taylor Kissinger who finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

While the result may seem disappointing for the Badgers, it was a solid showing by UW against one of the best teams in the Big Ten. A true-road test, the Badgers demonstrated progress and improvement Sunday, a goal the team has held since the beginning of the season.

Next up, Wisconsin returns home to the Kohl Center as they play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Valentines Day at 7 p.m.

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