Women’s Basketball: Northwestern fights back and cover a 13-point deficit, fall to Wisconsin 64-57


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern women fell to Wisconsin 64-57 in their last home game this season.

Kunjal Bastola, Assistant Sports Editor

Even after Northwestern gained momentum leading into the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough to take down Wisconsin. The Wildcats (9-19, 2-15 Big Ten) were handed another loss, 64-57, at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday night.

“I wish we could have finished it, you know, it’s frustrating,” coach Joe McKeown said “We were right there. We tied it. You know, we had another opportunity.” 

The Badgers (10-19, 5-12 Big Ten) opened the scoring with a corner three-pointer from redshirt freshman guard Maty Wilke. NU was quick to answer with senior guard Laya Hartman’s layup, thanks to a steal from graduate student guard Sydney Wood. Following this, both teams went scoreless until there was 6:43 left in the quarter, when the Cats allowed the Badgers’ Julie Pospisilova to grab an inside layup, bringing the score to 5-2 with NU trailing. 

Graduate student forward Courtney Shaw regained control after an almost-loss to drill a layup and brought the score to 5-4. A solid block from sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh gave the Cats a chance to capitalize and gain the lead on Wisconsin, but they failed to do so as Wisconsin’s Wilke sank another corner three-pointer. Walsh answered with a field goal, followed by Hartman’s triple, giving NU its first lead of the game, 8-9.

However, the Badgers were quick to take the lead back with a layup from freshman forward Serah Williams and a three-pointer from graduate student guard Avery LaBarbera, bringing their lead to 13-9. Walsh answered with a three-pointer of her own, and a Wisconsin foul — followed by freshman guard Caroline Lau’s made free throws — lifted the Cats back on top. 

Shortly after securing NU’s second and last lead of the game, Lau gained a foul as Pospisilova made all three free throws to regain the Badgers’ lead. Pospisilova went on to assist teammate Wilke in a three-point field goal as the Badgers began to extend their lead. The first quarter ended with the Cats trailing 19-14. 

The Badgers continued to widen their lead as Pospisilova shot a layup and a three-pointer. 

The Cats’ defense struggled in the first half, with key points for the Badgers coming as a result of NU’s lack of coverage on Wisconsin’s players. Freshman guard Sania Copeland was wide open to shoot a layup, bringing Wisconsin’s lead to 30-18.

Entering the third quarter, it looked as if the Badgers would continue their first-half trip up the scoring board, as Williams opened scoring with a two-point field goal. The Cats struggled to make easy shots, and an added three-pointer for the Badgers by junior guard Brooke Schramek brought the score to 39-26. 

This time, however, NU was quick to answer with Wood completing a shot off the basket, as well as a free throw to shorten the deficit to 10 points. A series of layups by sophomore guard Jillian Brown and senior guard Kaylah Rainey, as well as free throws by Rainey and Wood, brought the score to 40-36, with the Cats only trailing by four. 

As NU saw potential in their offense — thanks to the scoring drive that helped them gain both points and momentum — their defense fell off, allowing the Badgers to keep their lead throughout the rest of the fourth quarter. NU fought hard, with Lau sinking a three and drilling a second chance layup to bring the score to a close 50-48. Wisconsin answered with two three-pointers, its lead now extended to 56-48.

The last three minutes of the game saw a scoring drive from the Cats that brought the game to an even 56-56, as Wood, Mott and Lau all scored two points a piece. Fouls on NU led to Wisconsin possessions that ended in a shot by Wilke, and the score sat at 58-56 with 45 seconds left in the game.

In what was arguably the most crucial moment of the game, NU left Wilke wide open, leading to a layup that extended Wisco’s lead to 60-56. Fouls on Wood and Rainey only helped extend the Badgers’ lead, and the clock winds down with the score at 64-57. 

Looking ahead, the Cats will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Feb. 26. 

“We’re young. We’ll be right back, I promise you,” McKeown said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @kunjal_bastolaWomen’s Basketball: Northwestern fights back and cover a 13-point deficit, fall to Wisconsin 64-57

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