Paige’s free throws lift UW past Illinois
Morgan Paige made two free throws with seven seconds left to lift Wisconsin to a 70-67 victory over Illinois.
The Badgers improved to 1-3 in Big Ten play and 5-11 overall.
“I feel like we kept fighting and fighting without ever getting a victory,” Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey said of her team’s first win since Dec. 5. “I’m just happy for the players. It was a long time coming. The other games we fought but just came up short. This was our day today.”
Wisconsin took its largest lead of the game at 62-57 on a free throw by Taylor Wurtz with just over four minutes left.
Three Badgers finished the day in double figures, led by Wurtz’s 19 points.
Wisconsin shot a season-high 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the floor, going 2-of-7 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 (88.9 percent) from the line.
“It’s hard to keep being positive but they’re human, Kelsey said of her team. “They get down a bit. It’s our job to keep them encouraged and keep ourselves encouraged. We can’t play as coaches, but you feel totally responsible when things don’t go right but when it does, you give credit to the kids because they’re the ones who are fighting on every play.”
WISCONSIN 70, ILLINOIS 67
Wisconsin (70)—Thomas, 1-1-3; Covington, 9-0-18; Davis, 1-2-5; Wurtz, 9-1-19; Paige, 4-4-13; Smith, 1-0-2; Stephen, 3-0-6; Gulczynski, 2-0-4. Totals: 30-8-70.
Illinois (67)—Fenn, 7-4-18; Magrum, 7-3-20; McCully, 1-0-2; Crawford, 4-0-9; Moore, 3-0-8; Burke, 3-0-6; Godbold, 2-0-4. Totals: 27-7-67.
Wisconsin 37 33—70
Illinois 39 28—67
Three-point goals—Wisconsin 2 (Davis, Paige), Illinois 6 (Magrum 3, Moore 2, Crawford). Rebounds—Wisconsin 29 (Covington 7), Illinois 26 (Fenn 12). Free throws missed—Wisconsin 5, Illinois 7. Total fouls—Wisconsin 10, Illinois 9.