MADISON, Wis. -- After holding Illinois scoreless for 9:23 of the second half, the Wisconsin women's basketball team defeated the Fighting Illini, 60-47, Sunday night at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin wraps up the first half of the Big Ten Conference schedule in sole possession of second place with a 6-2 league mark (11-9 overall).
Badgers shoot 94.1 percent from line (16-of-17)
Wisconsin dishes out 14 assists
Steinbauer leads UW with 19 points
The Badgers were down 29-28 at halftime, but held Illinois (7-13, 2-5) to just 18 points in the second half, its lowest scoring half of the season, to seal the victory.
An impressive second-half defensive effort was not the only thing that buoyed the Cardinal and White, Wisconsin displayed its best possession performance of the year, finishing with a season-low six turnovers, marking the third-lowest turnover performance in program history.
In addition, the Badgers were able to capitalize on Illinois' 15 fouls, knocking down a nearly-flawless 16-of-17 attempts (94.1 percent) from the free throw line.
Finishing 4-of-4 behind the free stripe, senior Tara Steinbauer led Wisconsin with a game-high 19 points. Fellow senior Lin Zastrow and sophomore Taylor Wurtz also reached double figures for Wisconsin, slating 10 and 12 points, respectively.
Pulling down eight rebounds, Zastrow anchored UW to a 33-29 victory in the battle of the boards while senior Alyssa Karel finished second on the squad with six rebounds.
In the first half, the lead changed five times with Wisconsin holding the advantage by as many as four points on five separate occasions including a 26-22 advantage with 5:50 left in the first frame. Illinois went on a 5-0 run to take a 27-26 lead with 4:45 to go in the first. The Illini led 29-28 at the half.
The Illini led 33-31 with 17:44 to play but with Illinois' leading scorer Karisma Penn was sidelined after picking up three quick fouls, the Badgers went on an 12-0 run to take a 43-33 lead with 13:50 to play.
Illinois' Adrienne GodBold knocked down two 3-pointers to cut the UW lead to 43-39 with 12:32 remaining but the Illini would score only two field goals in the last 11 minutes of play, including a 9:23-minute stretch.
The Badgers finished 20-of-53 (37.7 percent) from the field while Illinois knocked down 19-of-46 of its attempts (41.3 percent).
Penn finished with 18 points while Amber Moore added 10 points. Centrese McGee led all players with 11 rebounds.
UW dished out 14 assists, marking its third-straight game where the squad has collect more than 14 assists, and held the Fighting Illini to just eight dimes.
Wisconsin returns to the floor Sunday to face Northwestern at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CT) and can be viewed live on BigTenNetwork.com.