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No. 9 Ohio State downs Badgers, 77-61, in Big Ten opener



9 Ohio State 77, Wisconsin 61
Kohl Center • Madison, Wis.
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1st 2nd Final
 Ohio State (14-0, 1-0) 38 39 77
 Wisconsin (4-9, 0-1) 37 24 61
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 Statistical Leaders
 • Taylor Wurtz: 10 Pts, 8 Reb, 35 Min
 • Ashley Thomas: 10 Pts, 3 Reb, 32 Min
 • Morgan Paige: 7 Pts, 4 Ast, 2-2 FT
 Stats at a Glance
 FG Percentage .484 .387
 3-Point FG Percentage .357 .400
 FT Percentage .667 .625
 Offensive Rebounds 11 10
 Defensive Rebounds 30 26
 Total Rebounds 41 36
 Turnovers 7 11
 Assists 18 14
 Steals 7 2
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MADISON, Wis. - No. 9 Ohio State's 14th consecutive halftime lead turned into its 14th consecutive win Friday night as the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers, 77-61, in Big Ten Conference action. With the win, Ohio State remains undefeated and improves to 14-0 (1-0 Big Ten), while the Badgers suffer their fourth consecutive loss, falling to 4-9 (0-1 Big Ten).

 Fast Facts
• Wurtz nets 13th double digit scoring performance
• Gulczynski nets career-high eight points
• Smith pulls down career-high six rebounds

"For our first Big Ten game, I thought our kids played really hard," head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. "They came out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy and I'm proud of their effort and we just came up a little bit short.

"We're still learning and growing as this season goes on. But we are very proud of them, and we're just going to keep working -- continue to work hard on the things that we need to improve upon."

A thrilling first half was capped off by a pair of lead changes in the final minute of play, as Ohio State went to the locker room with its smallest halftime lead of the season, 38-37.

After OSU opened the game with a 5-0 run, Wisconsin responded with a jumper by Anya Covington just under the 19-minute mark and a 3-pointer by Jade Davis at 17:42 to tie the game, 5-5. The Buckeyes regained the lead, 12-5, with a 7-0 run, but the Badgers continued to battle back, taking the lead, 27-26, with five minutes remaining on a jump shot by Tiera Stephen.

Tayler Hill netted one of her four 3-pointers with 4:56 remaining to give OSU back the lead, 29-27. The Buckeyes extended their lead by seven points twice, before Wisconsin went on an 8-2 run to close out the half.

The second half of play proved to be the difference as OSU outscored UW, 39-24, to earn the win.

The Buckeyes opened up the second 20 minutes of play with a 13-0 run to take a 51-37 lead with 16:02 to play. OSU extended its lead to 19, 60-41, with 12 minutes remaining before a 9-0 run by the Badgers brought the score within 10 (60-50) at 8:55.

Ohio State proved its top-10 ranking as it outscored Wisconsin 17-11 in the final eight minutes to earn its first Big Ten win of the season.

Ten of 11 Badgers scored, with Taylor Wurtz and Ashley Thomas leading UW with 10 points apiece. Wisconsin outscored Ohio State 22-14 from the bench. Jacki Gulczynski went 2-for-2 from 3-point range to mark a career-best eight points. Wurtz was two rebounds short of a double-double, pulling down eight boards to share the team lead with Covington.

Four of Ohio State's starters scored in double digits, with Hill leading the Buckeyes with 21 points.

Wisconsin was 24-of-62 (38.7 percent) from the floor, including 8-of-20 (40 percent) from beyond the arc. Ohio State shot 31-of-64 (48.4 percent) and went 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from 3-point range. The Badgers shot a season-low 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from the free throw line, while the Buckeyes shot 10-of-15 (66.7 percent).

The Buckeyes scored 38 points in the paint, compared to 16 for the Badgers. OSU dished off 18 assists, led by 11 from Samantha Prahalis, and outrebounded UW 41-36.  

UW continues Big Ten play on Monday when it hosts No. 16 Penn State at noon.

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