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Wisconsin finishes off regular season with 72-60 win over Illinois


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ON WISCONSIN

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Feb. 26, 2012

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Wisconsin 72, Illinois 60
Kohl Center • Madison, Wis.
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1st 2nd Final
 Wisconsin (9-19, 5-11) 29 43 72
 Illinois (11-18, 5-11) 34 26 60
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• Attendance: 7,203
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 Statistical Leaders
 • Morgan Paige: 29 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl
 • Taylor Wurtz: 21 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl
 • Anya Covington: 6 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast
 Stats at a Glance
WIS ILL
 FG Percentage .520 .453
 3-Point FG Percentage .286 .316
 FT Percentage .941 .857
 Offensive Rebounds 13 5
 Defensive Rebounds 23 12
 Total Rebounds 36 17
 Turnovers 16 11
 Assists 13 14
 Steals 4 10
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MADISON, Wis. --  A stepped-up second half fueled the Wisconsin women’s basketball team to a 72-60 win over Illinois at the Kohl Center on Senior Day. The Badgers outscored the Illini 43-26 in the second half to end their regular season 9-19 overall, 5-11 in Big Ten play. 

 Fast Facts
Morgan Paige sets career-high 29 points
Taylor Wurtz records second-straight double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds
• All seniors contributed in the win: Covington 6 pts, Davis 4 pts, Thomas 4 pts

Sophomore Morgan Paige recorded a career high, scoring 29 points for Wisconsin, 18 of which came in the last 20 minutes of play. Junior Taylor Wurtz tallied her second straight double-double, with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Badgers shot 64 percent from the field in the second half and had only six turnovers.

Starting the second half, the Badgers were down 34-29 after tallying 10 turnovers and failing to score a 3-pointer. Wisconsin opened the second half with four straight points, cutting the Illini lead to one (34-33) with 17:31 to play.

The first three of the game came from Wurtz with 16:26 left in the half, tying the game up 36-36. The two teams exchanged baskets for the first 10 minutes of the half, but that soon changed with big baskets from Paige and Wurtz.

In an 18-4 run for Wisconsin, the duo split the points, scoring nine a piece, giving the Badgers a 66-53 lead with 3:52 to play. Wisconsin held Illinois (11-18 overall, 5-11 Big Ten) scoreless for nearly five minutes until Adrienne GodBold made a jumper with 3:39 on the clock to bring the score to 66-55.

The two teams exchanged buckets until Anya Covington scored a jumper with 1:19 to play, putting the game away. Wisconsin took time off the clock and allowed head coach Bobbie Kelsey to recognize seniors Covington, Davis and Ashley Thomas by subbing them off the court individually.

"I'm just very proud of them," Kelsey said. "Obviously for the seniors it's a very good win for us, to go out in the Kohl, in front of our fans and to give them something to remember."

On the game, the Badgers shot 16-of-17 (94.1 percent) from the free throw line as Paige set a Kohl Center record for free throw percentage, hitting 11-of-11.  UW also shot 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field, including 64 percent (16-of-25) in the second half.

Wisconsin crushed Illinois on the boards, outrebounding the Illini 36-17. The 17 rebounds tied a Kohl Center record for fewest rebounds by an opponent. Wisconsin scored 17 points off of Illinois' 11 turnovers. The Badgers also had 15 second-chance points as they pulled down 13 offensive rebounds, whereas the Illini only had one second-chance bucket.

"The light came on, sometimes it's a dimmer not too bright," Kelsey said. "We have really been working on boxing out. I think the kids now understand how important ball security and having more possessions and opportunities."

The first half was quite different from the second, with the Badgers going 0-7 from 3-point range. Wurtz only recorded four points at the end of the first half and Paige led the team with 11.

Wisconsin came out strong, leading Illinois 6-2 with but Illinois went on an 8-0 run, taking a 13-8 lead with 12:06 left in the half. 

Hook shots from both Thomas and Covington brought the Badgers within one point (17-16) with nine minutes left in the half.  The Illini upped their lead to six, including at 31-25 with 2:55 to go in the period.

With the team being a perfect 9-of-9 from the stripe in the first half, Paige sunk two bonus free throws with a little over a minute left to get the Badgers back in the game, down 31-29. A three-pointer from GodBold put the Illini up 29-34 to end the half.

Wisconsin earns the No. 9 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play eighth-seeded Minnesota on Thursday at 5 p.m. All games take place in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Thursday, March 1 and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. 

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