Wisconsin women’s basketball played a well-rounded game from start to finish. They’ve had problems in the past finishing games, often giving up leads in the fourth quarter. But this game turned out different, and the home crowd provided a necessary boost.
Wisconsin head coach Marisa Moseley said the home crowd environment was exactly what they needed.
“To see that we have Letters and Science students here tonight, we have an incredible relationship with our band as they continue to show up and provide great energy in the building,” said Moseley.
Every player contributed, with all five Badger starters scoring double digits. Wisconsin was led by Serah Williams, who had a strong presence under the basket — 21 points, three blocks and eight rebounds. Julie Pospisilova added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Avery LaBarbera was also a star as she shot 4-of-8 from behind the arc and 6-of-10 in the paint. LaBarbera contributed six assists, four defensive rebounds and three steals — one of her best games of the season.
The Wisconsin Badgers got off to a strong start in the first quarter by taking an early 21-9 lead, but Rutgers managed to cut the lead to nine by the end of the period.
The Scarlet Knights had a clear height advantage as they blocked several shots under the net. However, the Badgers were able to adjust as they began to nail jumpers.
Maty Wilke shot 4-of-7 on 3-pointers just in the first half, with her last coming in the final three seconds of the half. As she came off the court, she earned a hug from Coach Moseley.
Wisconsin headed into the second half with a 46-35 advantage.
Rutgers managed to get within seven points before Wisconsin called a 30-second timeout to regroup.
Emerging from their timeout, Wisconsin went on an 18-2 streak in the final seven minutes of the third quarter. Eight of those points came off turnovers.
The Badgers demonstrated great offensive patience and playmaking, waiting for the right moment to shoot. They rebounded on offense and defense, and maintained their momentum throughout the entire game.
The Scarlet Knights executed a full-court press with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, but it did not faze the Badgers. With about three minutes left, Wisconsin already had all their bench players in. You could hear the starters on the bench cheering loudly for their teammates.
“It's really nice to be sitting on the bench with a few minutes left in the game cheering for the girls that maybe don’t get too many minutes,” LaBarbera said after the game. “They put in a lot of work at practice so we owe it to them to have a large enough lead for them to go in. ”
On Thursday, Wisconsin will face Northwestern at 6 p.m. in Illinois for their last away game. Earlier this season, Wisconsin lost by three points, so this should be a great rematch opportunity to watch on BTN. Rutgers will take on No. 12 Michigan on Thursday in Ann Arbor.