The Badgers proved once again that they are not road warriors, as the team lost its sixth conference game away from home this season, falling to No. 20 Michigan State 72-47.
Wisconsin (8-12, 2-8 Big Ten) suffered its greatest margin of defeat this season Thursday. The Badgers struggled in shooting, hitting only 33 percent of their shots and making 4 of 23 3-point shots. Michigan State (17-14, 7-3) also outrebounded the Badgers 42-32 and had 36 points in the paint, compared with Wisconsin's 16.
Sophomore guard Ashley Josephson led the Badgers, racking up 17 points on 7 of 18 shooting and hitting 3 of 9 treys while playing all 40 minutes. Senior center Emily Ashbaugh was the only other Badger in double figures with 10 points.
"We didn't compete like I thought we would tonight," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "We have to be able to control the things we can control, and we can control intensity and effort, and our focus. We just didn't play together, we didn't play in synch."
Michigan State, meanwhile, got its job done easily, thanks to junior center Kelli Roehrig, who led all players with a career-high 19 points, one of four MSU players to achieve double figures in scoring.
The Spartans had an explosive start and had an 11-2 lead before Wisconsin scored nine unanswered points. But the Badgers could not maintain the momentum and fell to MSU's offense. Michigan State entered the half 33-20 and held UW to only four points in the first eight minutes of the second half. The Badgers had 20 turnovers as well, leading to 33 Spartan points.
"Our posts had a tough time getting going," Stone said. "Our players know that I am not happy, and they're not happy either. Our emotions are the same – what is it going to take to have us fight to the bitter end and compete on both ends? Twenty turnovers, getting outrebounded by 10, our game goals were to outrebound them by 10 and have 15 turnovers, and we're not even near that. We just didn't play together, we didn't play in synch, and obviously we had another poor shooting performance. We did not give the effort that I thought we would, particularly in the second half."
The Badgers will return to the road Sunday against Michigan, (10-13, 3-7) which has similarly struggled this season. Tip-off is at noon and the game will be televised on Fox Sports North.
Score by half
Wisconsin - (Field goals-Free throws-Points) - Ashley Josephson (7-0-18), Emily Ashbaugh (5-0-10), Stephanie Rich (2-1-6), Lello Gebisa (2-2-6), Jordan Wilson (2-0-4), Ebba Gebisa (1-2-4). Totals: 19-5-47.
Michigan State - (Field goals-Free throws-Points) - Kelli Roehrig (8-3-19), Victoria Lucas Perry (3-3-11), Lindsay Bowen (4-0-10), Patrice McKinney (4-2-10), Julie Pagel (2-3-8), Liz Shimek (2-0-5), Kristin Haynie (2-0-4), Rene Haynes (1-0-3), Candice Jackson (1-0-2). Totals: 27-11-72.
Three point goals - Wisconsin 4 (Josephson 3, Rich), Michigan State 7 (Bowen 2, Lucas-Perry 2, Shimek, Pagel, Haynes).
Rebounds - Wisconsin 32 (Kjersten Bakke 5), Michigan State 42 (Shimek 9).
Assists - Wisconsin 12 (Rich 6), Michigan State 16 (Bowen 7) Turnovers - Wisconsin 20 (Kandace Evans 5), Michigan State 17 (Haynes 3).
Blocks - Wisconsin 7 (three with 2), Michigan State 1 (Roehrig) Steals - Wisconsin 7 (Rich 4), Michigan State 12 (Haynie 5) Fouls - Wisconsin 18, Michigan State 10.
Points - in the paint: Wisconsin 16, Michigan State 36 - Off turnovers: Wisconsin 8, Michigan State 33 - Fast break: Wisconsin 0, Michigan State 8 - Bench: Wisconsin 14, Michigan State 24 - Second chance: Wisconsin 17, Michigan State 14.