A cozy crowd of 1,650 gathered to witness this cross-state rivalry at the Al McGuire Center on the campus of Marquette. But with the exception of a seven-minute stretch in the first half, the Golden Eagles comfortably handled the young Badgers for the majority of the contest. If it was not for Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone's impersonation of walking on hot coals in bare feet up and down the sidelines while cajoling her youthful Badgers, the game was fairly routine for the host Golden Eagles. Her constant motion was not as amusing however, as the incessant "Let's Go Warriors" chant throughout the game by a group of over-zealous MU fans, who no doubt are posturing for a portion of the one million dollar scholarship endowment promised by Alumni for changing the school's nickname.
MU jumped out to a quick lead that was spurred by the poor passing and decision-making of Wisconsin backcourt starters Stephanie Rich and Janese Banks against Marquette's press. Numerous turnovers led to fast break opportunities for the Golden Eagles' frontcourt players, who were the recipients of some fancy passing by point guard Carolyn Kieger, who finished with 11 assists. The Badgers were slow in transition defense and Marquette's post players were very adept at running the break much to the delight of Kieger.
After the slow start the Badgers got back into the game behind the outside bombing of Jolene Anderson, Rich, and Banks and tied the game at 21-21 and 28-28. But a 10-1 run to close out the opening half by Marquette turned out to be a strong indication about the remainder of the game. Marquette started the second half with an 11-3 run amid continued sloppy pay of he Badgers to increase the lead to 17 points six minutes into the half, with most of the damage coming from a taller and talented trio of post players, Danielle Kamm (14 points), Svetlana Kovalenko (10 points), and Efueko Osagie (16 points).
The trio constantly riddled the Badger's interior defense with sharp passing and deft touches around the basket. Despite out-rebounding the Golden Eagles, the Badgers were unable to handle the interior offense throughout the evening. And when a team has 21 total turnovers, eight by Rich, there is so much a smaller front line can do to stem the tide of a team with six players scoring in double figures.
Marquette continued to stretch its lead to 20 points with over three minutes left in the game by capitalizing on turnovers and poor shooting by the Badgers. Only Anderson's sharp shooting offensive game kept the tilt from being a blowout. She finished with 26 points, on nine of fifteen shooting that came from the 3-point arc and a number of nifty drives to the hoop, while adding a team high 10 rebounds. Other bright spots for the Badgers came from freshman Danielle Ward who chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds, along with the rebounding play of Jordan Wilson and Annie Nelson who both garnered six boards along with seven points apiece.
But in the end it was the continuing lack of ability to take care of the ball, defend MU's bigger post players, and not making the pass against the press the doomed the lady Badgers to a 2-3 start this season.