Dec. 28, 2009
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MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin women’s basketball team upset No. 16 Michigan State on Monday night in the Kohl Center, 62-54, as the Badgers maintained a double-digit lead for a majority of the game.
“I tell you, it was like a football game,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “I know we’ve got the bowl game tomorrow, but it was a very physical Big Ten battle out there tonight. Michigan State’s a great team. They rebound the ball with relentlessness and I thought we did a really good job of boxing out. I thought it was going to go right down to the wire there and that’s something we can shore up.”
Alyssa Karel scored a game-high 21 points, but it was Rae Lin D’Alie’s leadership that proved critical to the UW victory. Wisconsin improves to 1-1 in Big Ten Conference play and 11-2 overall.
In addition to scoring 13 points, D’Alie led the team in several statistical categories with seven assists, six rebounds and six steals, which was one short of her career high.
“Rae Lin D’Alie’s energy and her leadership out there on the court was just simply outstanding,” Stone said. “She had six steals (and) seven assists. I’m not quite sure of her line, but her leadership on the court and her energy in talking in timeouts about finishing the play and getting things done and let’s play to win.”
Turnovers proved critical as Michigan State out-shot the Badgers, 47.7 percent to 43.5 percent, respectively. The Spartans (9-4, 0-2) committed 26 total turnovers, compared to UW’s 20. Wisconsin’s 14 steals overshadowed Michigan State’s seven as Karel also tallied three steals.
Lykendra Johnson scored 11 points for the Spartans, while Jasmine Thomas contributed 10. Johnson also led Michigan State with a game-high seven rebounds.
After trailing in the opening minutes, a 3-pointer from Karel gave the Badgers a 9-7 lead with 14:24 remaining in the first half. Karel, who had a team-high 11 points in the period, continued to propel the UW as she knocked down a 12-foot baseline jumper at the 8:37 mark giving the Badgers a 17-11 advantage.
With just over five minutes left, a steal by Karel led to a fast break where D’Alie craftily dished the ball to Covington for an easy deuce despite being fouled. Covington then missed the free throw, but a Spartan lane violation gave her a second chance and she converted the three point play to give the Badgers a 22-13 lead.
Wisconsin continued to answer Michigan State and took a 28-21 lead into halftime.
Michigan State’s 6-9 forward Allyssa DeHaan led the team with eight first-half points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Wisconsin opened the second half with a 7-2 run and extended its lead to 35-23 as D’Alie knocked down a 3-pointer at the 16:13 mark. D’Alie then hit another 3-pointer with 13:58 left in the period to give the Badgers their largest lead of the night, 42-26.
With under four minutes remaining, Michigan State cut the deficit to 10 following a 13-foot jumper by Kalisha Keane. The Spartans continued to chip away and eventually trailed by just four, 53-49, with 1:41 left but a Steinbauer layup at the one-minute mark gave the Badgers a commanding 56-49 lead.
UW certainly struggled from the charity stripe, shooting 18-of-34, but it hit enough in the closing moments to get the job done.
The Badgers were able to silence DeHaan in the second half as she scored just one point, finishing with nine total points.
The Badgers continue Big Ten play on Thursday when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to take on the Hawkeyes at 5 p.m.
“We’ll head down to Iowa on Wednesday and it’s important we play well on the road,” Stone said. “We’ve played at some tough venues – at Marquette, at NC State, at Oregon – those three venues stand out in my mind in preparation for the Big Ten road games. It’s important we take one game at a time.
“It’s a journey this year and I’ve got a group of young women with a look in their eye and it’s pretty special.”
Wisconsin Athletic Communications