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Slow start leads to strong finish as Badgers defeat Warhawks, 70-54



Nov. 3, 2011

Wisconsin 70, UW-Whitewater 54
Kohl Center • Madison, Wis.
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1st 2nd Final
 UW-Whitewater 28 26 54
 Wisconsin 38 32 70
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 UW Statistical Leaders
 • Ashley Thomas: 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl
 • Anya Covington: 13 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Blk, 3 Stl
 • Cassie Rochel: 6 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Blk, 4 Stl
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .281 .524
 3-Point FG Percentage .333 .222
 FT Percentage .727 .727
 Offensive Rebounds 14 9
 Defensive Rebounds 16 30
 Total Rebounds 30 39
 Turnovers 26 30
 Assists 7 13
 Steals 15 15
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MADISON, Wis. - A sluggish start lead to a strong finish as the Wisconsin women's basketball team defeated UW-Whitewater, 70-54, in exhibition action Thursday night at the Kohl Center.

 Fast Facts
• Badgers went on a 20-0 run in the first half
• Four players in double-figure scoring for Wisconsin
• UW shot 52.4 percent from the field

Head coach Bobbie Kelsey showed no signs of nerves in her coaching debut.

"No, no nerves," she said. "I've been in national championship games before, so it's (just) a game. You have to put your uniform on and play.

"My main concern is us getting better--not turning the ball over, making our free throws, running our offense like it's supposed to be run. This is one of many (games), and we'll learn from it. We have to play a lot better."

UW opened play with five quick points, but the Warhawks weren't intimidated, tying the score at 9-9 on a Kaitlyn Thill 3 pointer and layup.

Mary Merg led the Warhawks on a seven-point run, with a pair of 3 pointers and a layup to give Whitewater its largest lead at 17-10 with 14:06 to play in the half.

Wisconsin began chipping away at the 13:25 mark. A layup by Jade Davis, followed by a pair of free throws by Taylor Wurtz was the start of a 20-point run by the Badgers.

The Badgers' defense shut down the Warhawks for over eight minutes to give UW a 30-17 lead with 5:57 to go in the period.

"We knew we had to put a little more pressure on the ball and not let (UW-Whitewater) get clear looks of the shots they wanted," Kelsey said about UW's run. "They're a good shooting team."

Wisconsin went into halftime with a 10-point (38-28) lead.

Wisconsin returned to the floor after the half and never relinquished its lead. The Warhawks worked the score to within six (46-40) with 13:19 to play, but the Badgers went on a 6-0 run to stop the threat.

A Covington layup put the Badgers up 69-54 with 49 second remaining and a free throw by Morgan Paige gave the UW its largest lead of the night with 16 second left to play, 70-54, and the final score.

"Individually some people stepped up closer to the end and got some key rebounds and key baskets," Kelsey said. "I thought Morgan (Paige) did a good job getting up to the basket. Cassie (Rochel) got some key rebounds. But the biggest thing is that we have to learn from our mistakes if we are going to go where we want to go."

Ashley Thomas finished the night with 17 points, going a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Anya Covington put up 13 points, while Davis and Paige each had 12. Cassie Rochel led the Badgers with 12 rebounds.

Whitewater was led by Thill with 15 points, while Mary Merg put up 14. Chantel Burg pulled down seven rebounds for the Warhawks.

The Badgers shot 52.4 percent from the field (22-of-42), holding the Warhawks to just 28.1 percent (16-of-57).  Wisconsin netted two 3 pointers (2-of-9), while Whitewater hit six (6-of-18). The Badgers out-rebounded the Warhawks, 39-30.  

Wisconsin returns to the Kohl Center on Sunday, when it hosts UW-Parkside in its final exhibition game of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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