Both teams struggled early on, as the first four minutes of the game were scoreless. The Buckeyes (9-2, 1-0) jumped ahead, leading the Badgers 25-14 late in the first half. The Badgers fought back on an 8-0 streak, down 25-22 with two minutes, 32 seconds left, and went into the locker room trailing 27-24.
"The team came out of the half-time with the same determination and tenacity that we had in the first half," senior center Emily Ashbaugh said. "I think our defense is what fueled us in the game and we are definitely moving towards that as a team and making defense our motivation and driving force. So, I think that when (the defense) lulled is when we broke down a little bit."
In the second half, shooting woes continued to plague the Badgers, who shot 29 percent overall. Ohio State, which averages 55.7 percent shooting, was only 45.3 percent Friday. The Badgers got within five points with 7:44 left at 48-43. Ohio State broke away and never looked back while Wisconsin continued to struggle, scoring only three more points.
Senior center Lello Gebisa fouled out with four minutes left, but was one of three Badgers with 11 points; she also had eight rebounds. Ashbaugh and junior guard Stephanie Rich had nine rebounds apiece; with Ashbaugh contributing 11 points and sophomore guard Ashley Josephson adding 11. Rich shot 0-for-10 from the field and 1-for-2 from the free throw line for her only point of the game. Wisconsin overall made none of its 10 three-point attempts, the first time the Badgers missed all over their attempts from behind the arc since Michigan State in 1999.
Despite the loss and the poor shooting, coach Lisa Stone was optimistic about the game.
"With five minutes to go, we were down only seven and the ball wouldn't go in the hoop for us," Stone said. "They got some transition baskets and we were unable to stop their scoring barrage. But I'm proud of our kids. For 33 minutes we played some great basketball—some of the best all year, despite the 29-percent shooting. I'm encouraged by that and we can build on that."
Score by half
Wisconsin - (Field goals-Free throws-Points) - Lello Gebisa (5-1-11), Emily Ashbaugh (5-1-11), Ashley Josephson (4-3-11), Ebba Gebisa (3-2-8), Kandace Evans (1-0-2), Jordan Wilson (1-0-2), Stephanie Rich (0-1-1). Totals: 19-8-46.
Ohio State - (Field goals-Free throws-Points) - LaToya Turner (6-2-14), Brandie Hoskins (6-1-13), Jessica Davenport (3-7-13), Michelle Munoz (3-2-9), Caity Matter (2-1-7), Candace Dark (2-0-5), Kim Wilburn (2-0-4). Totals: 24-13-65.
Three point goals - Wisconsin 0, Ohio State 4 (Matter 2, Dark, Munoz).
Rebounds - Wisconsin 44 (Ashbaugh, Rich 9), Ohio State 37 (Turner 8).
Assists - Wisconsin 12 (Rich 6), Ohio State 18 (Wilburn 9). Turnovers - Wisconsin 15 (Rich 6), Ohio State 10 (Hoskins 3).
Blocks - Wisconsin 3 (Ashbaugh, Wilson, E. Gebisa), Ohio State 6 (Turner 4). Steals - Wisconsin 2 (E. Gebisa, Josephson), Ohio State 9 (Wilburn 3). Fouls - Wisconsin 15, Ohio State 11.
Points - in the paint: Wisconsin 24, Ohio State 38 - Off turnovers: Wisconsin 8, Ohio State 18 - Fast break: Wisconsin 4, Ohio State 13 - Bench: Wisconsin 4, Ohio State 27 - Second chance: Wisconsin 12, Ohio State 13.