Wisconsin sinks 12 three-pointers in loss
Yet it still wasn’t enough to knock off No. 10 Ohio State on a stellar night for point guard Samantha Prahalis.
Prahalis scored a career-high 34 points and the Buckeyes made the most of an eight-day layoff to beat the Badgers, 72-58, on Monday night, their 20th consecutive victory in the series.
First-year Wisconsin coach Bobby Kelsey was pleased with her team’s effort but not the bottom line.
“We’re not here to lay down and say, ‘Oh, well, it’s Ohio State. Poor Wisconsin,’” said the former Stanford star. “We’re here to compete and win the game. I’m a competitor. I don’t like to lose. I said if I had one more year of eligibility I’d get out there and show you what to do. We’ve got to be more competitive. You want people who are getting after it. I’m not saying they’re not, but we want more. I’m always asking for more.”
Taylor Wurtz had 20 points, Morgan Paige 14 and Jade Davis 11 for Wisconsin (8-15,
4-7 Big Ten), which hit a school-record 12 3-pointers. The Badgers were 12 of 24 behind the arc, breaking the mark of 11 which they had hit seven times including twice earlier this season.
Kelsey acknowledged she was having difficulty accepting losses, even against one of the elite teams in the conference and the nation.
“Not many people expected us to do anything this year but that’s not why I came to Wisconsin,” she said. “My expectations are very high for this group. I think that’s why we can compete with a team like Ohio State. (The Buckeyes are) very talented. I expect them to go deep in the NCAA tournament.”
Even with Prahalis hitting 12 of 18 shots from the field, 4 of 5 behind the arc and all six free throws to go with five assists, two rebounds and four steals, the Buckeyes (21-2, 8-2) had trouble pulling away from the Badgers.
Ohio State coach Jim Foster gave the credit to Kelsey.
“They’re getting better,” said Foster, in his 34th year as a head coach. “Teams have to make up their minds at this stage of the season that have not had success—is it worth the investment? Wisconsin obviously thinks it’s worth the investment. Illinois feels the same. Young coaches with their teams in tune and playing hard.”
Tayler Hill, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, added 18 points for the Buckeyes, who broke the game open with a 16-3 second-half run.
A 7-0 run, capped by Ashley Thomas’ second straight basket on a driving layup off an assist from Wurtz, cut what had been a 13-point second half deficit to just 49-46 with 12 minutes remaining.
“That’s the reason they were came back because they were shooting all these 3s and making them,” Prahalis said. “You’ve got to give credit to them.”
But the Buckeyes pulled away.
“There were some positive things—we were hitting our 3-point shots,” said Kelsey.
The Badgers didn’t have second-leading scorer Anya Covington (undisclosed illness) for the second game in a row.
“It’s difficult in this type of game (to not have her) because we know what she can do,” Kelsey said. “We depend on her to score on the block. When you don’t have any real block scoring, it makes it hard. But you can’t stop playing. The games go on.”