Indiana, more famous for its defense than its offensive prowess, shot 48 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures as the Hoosiers silenced the Badgers, 71-66 Thursday night at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.
At one point down by 18, Wisconsin (8-11 overall, 2-7 Big Ten) clamored back late in the game and narrowed the deficit to within four with 27 seconds left thanks to hot shooting from junior guard Ashley Josephson. The Badgers, though, could not undo the damage that their poor defensive play had allowed earlier. Prior to Thursday, Indiana (9-11, 2-8) was shooting 35 percent from the field, but the Hoosiers shot 62 percent in the first half against Wisconsin.
"We had tremendous defensive lapses in the first half," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "Our perimeter pressure was very poor, and we couldn't stop them from penetrating."
Down 12-8 in the first period, Wisconsin went on a 14-4 run but the Hoosier responded with a 15-5 run and took a 31-27 lead into halftime. The Hoosiers came out of the gates and went on a 20-6 run to kick off the second period. Wisconsin turned ice cold during this span, shooting only 22 percent and missing four layups.
"I just know it feels good to win," Indiana coach Kathi Bennett said. "I thought the start of the second half was the difference in the game. We came out very ready and got the big lead and extended it. I thought that was the difference in the game."
IU junior guard Cyndi Valentin, the team's leading scorer, had a team-high 14 points, while sixth-year senior forward Jamie Gathing had 12.
"We had four or five people in double figures and I really can't remember the last time we had that," said Bennett. "Cyndi (Valentin) had an off first half so we had other people step up. I thought our posts were huge, they did a great job."
"I told our team, ‘this is one of the best defenses we'll see'," Stone said. "However, we have to play defense as well. Sure, we can score points, but we give up too many."
Commodores stymie Badgers in ITA opening round
The No. 48 Wisconsin women's tennis team put up a fight in four of its six singles matches but No. 6 Vanderbilt was too much for the Badgers to handle in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships, held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison. The Badgers (2-1 overall) fell 7-0 to the Commodores (5-0) and will play a to-be-determined opponent in the consolation round, which begins Friday at 9 a.m.
Senior Katie McGaffigan took senior Audra Falk to three sets but fell 1-6, 6-2 and 7-5, which sealed the win for Vanderbilt. Sophomores Caitlin Burke and Kaylan Caiati and freshman Chelsea Nusslick also took their opponents to three sets but could not pull out a win.
"Unfortunately, the match did not go our way," UW coach Patti Henderson said. "We had four matches go to three sets, and had we won them, there's the match right there."