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Friday, May 17, 2024
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Serah Williams leads Badgers in win over Penn State with record-setting performance

The Wisconsin women’s basketball team defeated Penn State in the Play4Kay game.

The Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team overcame a double-digit deficit to beat the Penn State Nittany Lions 69-64 Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

Sunday’s game was the Badgers’ Play4Kay game, with the team sporting pink shoes and warmups. Play4Kay is a foundation that fundraises for cancer research in memory of former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach, Kay Yow.

Prior to Sunday’s matchup, the Badgers sat at a 10-11 record and were 3-8 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions had a 16-7 record and were 6-6 in the conference.

Senior Brooke Schramek, sophomore Ronnie Porter, freshman D’Yanis Jimenez, senior Natalie Leuzinger and sophomore Serah Williams started for the Badgers.

Wisconsin had a rough start in the first quarter after winning the tip-off. Meanwhile, Penn State was off to an electric start with an early steal from guard Ashley Owusus.

With five made three-pointers, Penn State was able to create and solidify a lead early in the game. Despite Penn State’s success, both teams struggled with turnovers and each recorded seven in the first quarter. 

Although the Badgers entered the second quarter down 12-25 after a shocking 3-point shot from Owusu the buzzer, a rare 3-pointer from Williams during the first quarter  previewed the kind of game she had.

A block from Williams early in the second quarter gave Wisconsin some much needed momentum. Following the block, the Badgers got back-to-back scoring drives from Sania Copeland and Schramek.

The Nittany Lions remained dominant, even reaching a 17-point lead late in the quarter. A made 3-pointer from freshman Tessa Grady helped Wisconsin bring the lead back down before the quarter ended. 

Wisconsin was down 40-26 going into halftime.

A made layup from Williams to start the third quarter helped the Badgers perform in one of their best quarters so far this season.

Everything was going right for Wisconsin, and the team executed on both ends of the quarter. The Badgers defended Penn State well, holding them to just seven points in the quarter. 

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A steal from Porter led to a layup from Williams for Wisconsin’s first lead of the game. Eleven more points from Williams helped the Badgers maintain a lead and outscore the Nittany Lions 24-7 in the quarter. Wisconsin led 50-47  entering the final quarter.

The fourth quarter came down to the wire, with both teams fighting for the win. Penn State kept the game close with help from Owusu, and the game was tied at 60 with less than three minutes left to play.

The Nittany Lions’ increase in effort pushed the Badgers to play their hardest. Williams missed a 3-point shot late in the quarter but was fouled. Williams knocked down all three free-throws, helping Wisconsin create more space in the score.

Penn State’s Owusu scored the final shot in the game, but it was not enough to take down Wisconsin. The final score was 67-64.

Williams led all scorers with 31 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Porter scored eight points and matched her career high in steals at five. Owusu led Penn State with 24 points and five assists.

Sunday’s game marked Williams’ ninth-consecutive double-double, putting her first on the all-time consecutive double-double list in program history. Former Badger Theresa Huff set the previous record with eight consecutive double-doubles exactly 41 years earlier on Feb. 11, 1983.

Williams’ performance Sunday also showed why she was one of 15 players in the country named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watchlist. Williams is accompanied by players like Angel Reese from LSU and Cameron Brink from Stanford.

In a postgame interview, head coach Marisa Moseley said Williams’ record-breaking game shows the kind of player she is and has been all season.

“I think for her to be as consistent, I think there’s a hunger, there’s a desire for her to continue to get better, to be dominant,” Moseley said.

Sunday’s win puts the Wisconsin-Penn State women’s basketball all-time series at 10-15, with the Nittany Lions leading.

Wisconsin will take on No. 14 Indiana at the Kohl Center Wednesday night.

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