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Badgers pick up 70-67 Big Ten win over Illinois



Jan. 8, 2012

Wisconsin 70, Illinois 67
Assembly Hall • Champaign, Ill.
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1st 2nd Final
 Wisconsin (5-11, 1-3) 37 33 70
 Illinois (6-11, 0-4) 39 28 67
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• Attendance: 1, 415
 Statistical Leaders
 • Taylor Wurtz: 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Stl
 • Anya Covington: 18 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Stl, 34 Min
 • Morgan Paige: 13 Pts, 4-4 FT, 32 Min
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .536 .482
 3-Point FG Percentage .286 .462
 FT Percentage .889 .700
 Offensive Rebounds 11 11
 Defensive Rebounds 18 15
 Total Rebounds 29 26
 Turnovers 17 17
 Assists 10 11
 Steals 9 7
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --A strong second half and a pair of free throws by Morgan Paige with seven seconds to play gave the Wisconsin women's basketball team it first Big Ten Conference win. The Badgers downed Illinois 70-67 Sunday afternoon.

 Fast Facts
• Badgers shoot season-high 53.6 percent
• UW earns first Big Ten win of season
• Paige shoots 4-of-4 from free throw line

The win improved the UW to 1-3 in Big Ten play (5-11 overall), while the Illini remain winless in league play at 0-4 (6-11 overall).

"I feel like we kept fighting and fighting and never getting a victory," head coach Bobbie Kelsey remarked about UW's first win since Dec. 5. "I'm just happy for the players. It was a long time coming. The other games we fought but just came up short. This was our day today."

After keeping pace with a strong shooting Illinois team for the first 20 minutes, the Badgers went into halftime trailing, 39-37. Both teams appeared unable to miss in the first period, as Wisconsin shot 16-of-28 (57.1 percent) in the first half and Illinois went 17-of-25 (68.0 percent).

The Illini opened the second half with a 7-0 run as their hot shooting seemed to continue into the second half of play. A jump shot by Taylor Wurtz at 17:14 stopped the Illini scoring run and gave the Badgers the momentum. Wurtz' jumper was the start of an 8-1 UW run that tied the game at 47 with 13:44 to go.

A bucket by Adrienne Godbold with 12:49 to play gave Illinois back the lead, but Wisconsin tied the game, 49-49, just over a minute later when Anya Covington drained a jumper for the Badgers. Covington followed up with another jumper with 10:06 remaining to give UW its first lead of the game, 51-49.

Illinois went up 57-51on a 7-0 run with 7:45 to play. But that would be its last lead of the game as a layup by Wurtz at 5:36 tied the game for the seventh time, this time at 57 apiece.

Wisconsin never looked back as a free throw by Wurtz with just over four minutes remaining gave UW its largest lead, 62-57. Illinois cut the lead to one four times but a pair of jump shots by Covington, and four made free throws by Paige in the final 2:43 confirmed the thrilling victory for the Badgers.

Three Badgers finished the day in double digits, led by Wurtz' 19 points. Covington netted 18, going 9-of-15 from the floor, and Paige chipped in 13, including a 4-of-4 free throw performance. Covington and Tiera Stephen led the UW with seven rebounds apiece.

Wisconsin shot a season-high 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the floor, going 2-of-7 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 (88.9 percent) from the line. The Illini followed up a strong first half shooting performance (68 percent) with a dismal 10-of-31 (32.3 percent) second half showing. UI ended the game 27-of-56 (48.2 percent) from the field, including 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from 3-point range and 7-of-10 (70 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Badgers outrebounded Illinois, 29-26, including 18 defensive rebounds. Both teams committed 17 turnovers, while Wisconsin had nine steals and Illinois had seven.  

Wisconsin returns home to the Kohl Center on Thursday when it welcomes No. 19 Nebraska to Madison for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

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