Jan. 17, 2010
Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Post-game news conference | Game Highlights
Led by a career-high 23 points from junior forward Tara Steinbauer, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive game, defeating Illinois, 63-51, in front of a season-high crowd of 8,097 at the Kohl Center on Sunday. The four straight wins ties UW’s longest streak of the season and is its longest in conference play since winning five in a row from Feb, 14-28, 2008.
The Badgers improve to 15-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. It is UW’s best start to a season under head coach Lisa Stone. Illinois falls to 11-6, 3-4 in the conference.
Wisconsin, which led by as many as 11 points in the first half, saw its lead cut to two points, 32-30, with 16:44 left in the game. The Badgers then went on a 13-4 run with Steinbauer and Alyssa Karel scoring all 13 points. Karel, UW’s leading scorer, started the run with her first points of the game, a pull-up jumper from the foul line. Steinbauer followed with a lay-up and free throw off a nifty wraparound pass from point guard Rae Lin D’Alie. Karel then made another jumper, Steinbauer scored on a lay-up and two free throws before Karel ended the run with another jumper to put the Badgers up by 11 points, 45-34.
Illinois would not go away, cutting the lead to 52-46 with 6:00 to go. But the Fighting Illini scored just two points over the next four minutes and the Badgers ended the game on an 11-5 run. UW has outscored its last four opponents by an average of almost 12 points per game in the second half. The Badgers made 58.8 percent (10-of-17) of their shots after halftime while Illinois was just 8-of-28 (.286).
Steinbauer, who made 7-of-10 field goals and 8-of-9 free throws, also added a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Taylor Wurtz again provided a spark off the bench, making all four of her field goals and finishing with 11 points. All of Karel’s nine points came in the second half and Teah Gant chipped in with eight points and five assists.
UW, which came into the game ranked ninth in the country in scoring defense, held its opponent to less than 54 points for the fifth straight game. The Badgers also turned the ball over just 10 times, compared to 16 for Illinois.
Wisconsin held a 27-23 halftime lead in large part to the play of Steinbauer. Steinbauer led all scorers in the first frame with nine points and added four rebounds. The Badgers, who did not trail all game, forced Illinois into 10 first-half turnovers. A 13-2 run midway through the half, in which the Badgers connected on three of their four 3-pointers in the game, gave them a 22-11 lead with 6:31 left in the half. Illinois battled back, however, ending the half by scoring 12 of the final 17 points.
The Badgers return to action this Thursday when they host Penn State at the Kohl Center at 7 p.m.