The Wisconsin Badgers (3-1) controlled the court over the Milwaukee Panthers (1-3) Sunday, winning 71-40, following their first loss of the season last Thursday to Colorado.
The Badgers took the lead over the Panthers just over a minute into the game, and held it for the rest of the game. Their momentum continued, and the Badgers went into halftime with a 30-16 lead.
Wisconsin didn’t give Milwaukee any slack in the third period, taking off and scoring 22 points to the Panthers 10. Badger sophomore Imani Lewis brought in eight of the 22 points, including two back-to-back fast break layups that got the crowd buzzing.
She kept up the heat with five more points in the fourth quarter. The Panthers didn’t slow down despite the Badgers growing lead however, scoring 14 points and putting up a decent fight in the fourth. Milwaukee’s leading scorer of the game, senior Lizzie Odegard, lead their scoring in the period with five, three of them from her own defensive rebound that lead to a three-point jump shot.
Lewis led the Badgers in scoring in the game with 19 points, 15 of them in the second half to widen the lead. Senior Abby Laszewski wasn’t far behind in total points, bringing in 13 of her own.
What really stood out, though, in the Badgers’ performance against Milwaukee was their rebounding, especially after having such a tough time on the boards against Colorado. Lewis and Freshman Julie Pospisilova each had five rebounds, followed by Laszewski with four, and Senior Kendra Van Leeuwen with three.
“Our main goal was to stop letting teams get offensive rebounds and I think today really showed we’re a good rebounding team,” said Lewis.
After a tough 74-57 loss against the Colorado Buffaloes Thursday, the Badgers were determined this game wouldn’t be the same.
“The important thing was to not let the same thing that caused us to lose [to Colorado] to affect us in the next game,” Lewis said. “We all know as a team that rebounding was not our best that night and our defense was not the greatest. The thing is to not make the same mistakes in this game.”
Especially with the next match being an in-state rivalry against Milwaukee, the only in-state game of the season, Wisconsin wasn’t going to take tonight’s contest lightly. The players were invested, especially the Badger seniors who last met Milwaukee as freshmen three years ago.
“I know the seniors, Kendra (Van Leeuwen) and Suzanne (Gilreath), who were playing tonight, [had] the first game against Milwaukee when we were freshmen,” said Laszewski. “We lost and we didn’t want that to happen again. We said this is our last in-state rivalry so let’s go out with a win. So it feels good.”
The Badgers will carry this rivalry win and focus into their next game Tuesday, Nov. 26 at home against Eastern Illinois.