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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, January 24, 2022
Senior forward Marsha Howard had 16 points while Imani Lewis put up 18 in Wisconsin's loss to Rutgers Monday night.

Senior forward Marsha Howard had 16 points while Imani Lewis put up 18 in Wisconsin's loss to Rutgers Monday night.

Wisconsin dominates Michigan State early to claim first top-25 win since 2013

Wisconsin (3-10 Big Ten, 12-13 overall) defeated No. 24 Michigan St. (7-6, 17-7)  at home with ease during its Valentine’s Day showdown, its first win over a ranked opponent in six years.

Wisconsin opened up play on a high note with an 8-0 run. The Badgers kept Michigan State scoreless for more than four minutes before the Spartans’ dry spell was ended with a basket by guard Shay Colley. Although the Spartans cut the lead to two with six quick points, Wisconsin stayed poised and kept its defense sound.

After a media timeout, redshirt senior Kelly Karlis came out with a huge three to put Wisconsin up 13-6. Junior guard Suzanne Gilreath kept the momentum up with a huge corner three that put the Badgers up 20-8 and forced Michigan State to call its first timeout. Wisconsin ultimately ended the quarter up 22-8, and never relinquished control of the game.

Michigan State seemed to recollect itself after the close of the first quarter and Colley got the team back on the board with a big three, but the Badgers responded with a 4-point run from sophomore guard Niya Beverley and a huge “and-one” from senior forward Marsha Howard, which extended Wisconsin’s lead to 29-11. 

Michigan State forward Mardrekia Cook ended the run, but her efforts were not enough to stop Wisconsin. The Badgers continued to push the ball and fought in the paint to make it to the free throw line.

Wisconsin took a 20-point lead with two minutes remaining in the second quarter after Howard made her fifth consecutive free throw of the night. The Spartans put up more resistance offensively toward the close of the half but still entered the locker room trailing 46-27.

The first half was undoubtedly all Wisconsin, and the 8-0 start to the game was just the beginning. The Badgers held the Spartans to a mere four free throw attempts while Wisconsin went 13 of 15 from the line. Additionally, the Badger’s defense was locked in, forcing Michigan St. into nine turnovers while Howard led the team with an astounding 20 first-half points.

Howard continued her success into the third quarter as she scored the first four points for the team. Colley however also continued in her efforts to cut Wisconsin’s lead as she fought throw the foul towards the basket and finished the three-point play.

With three minutes left, Michigan St. seemed to get a little life back and Colley continued to push the pace for a basket, followed by freshman guard Nia Clouden on the next play down the court, making the score 58-39 Wisconsin. 

The Spartans applied full-court pressure in the remaining minutes of the third quarter, hoping to elicit some turnovers from the Badgers, but instead, Beverly sank a huge three in with under 20 seconds to go and lengthened Wisconsin’s cushion to 65-41. 

Not surprisingly, the momentum stayed with Wisconsin into the final quarter of the game as Lewis quickly got the fourth quarter started with a play in the post. Karlis also continued with her hot hand with another three from behind the arc, which caused an eruption from the crowd. The remainder of the fourth quarter saw the Spartans do what they could to make a dent in their deficit, and while Wisconsin committed a few too many fouls and had poor shot selection, it held on for the win over ranked Michigan St. 

The Badgers hit the road next to take on Ohio State on Sunday, buoyed by the confidence of a rare win over a ranked opponent.

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