Despite another big scoring game for star guard Sydney Hilliard, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team (0-1 Big Ten, 1-1 overall) dropped their Big Ten opener Saturday with a 85-78 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0 Big Ten, 3-0 overall).
The sophomore guard led all players with 26 points — breaking her own career high she set in the previous game against Western Illinois — but it wasn’t enough as the Hawkeyes were deadly from behind the arc, shooting 39 percent to the Badgers’ 19 percent. Hilliard also added nine boards, six assists and a steal to her stat-stuffing output.
Sydney Hilliard with her second straight career-high scoring game— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerWBB) December 5, 2020
‼️ Imani Lewis with her first double-double of the season
Leading in rebounds
We’ve got a lot to be proud of #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/AWkVYzzdyi
Iowa built a 35-21 lead with five minutes to go in the second quarter before Wisconsin rattled off a 11-0 run in three minutes. Freshmen Kate Thompson and Brooke Schramek combined for six of the 11 points, with head coach Jonathan Tsipis saying he was “proud” of the contributions from the freshmen.
Before half, graduate transfer Estella Moschkau hit a buzzer beater three to make the game 40-35 heading into the break.
But once again, turnovers were an issue for the Badgers. UW coughed up 17 turnovers and Iowa scored 23 points off of them. Combined with Iowa’s sharpshooting — freshman guard Caitlin Clark had 23 points while sophomore Gabbie Marshall went 3-for-5 from three for 15 points — that was enough for Wisconsin to fall short.
There were some positives for the Badgers. Junior Imani Lewis got a double double with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Wisconsin dominated the Hawkeyes on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 49-33.
Head coach Jonathan Tsipis also found positives despite the loss. Last year, the Badgers lost to Iowa by 26, and Tsipis said this performance was much better.
“We have to keep fighting until the final buzzer and I’m proud of the way our kids continued to do that. I liked our resiliency. We gave up some easy baskets I thought in the first quarter but then fought back to get it to five at halftime,” Tsipis said.
Wisconsin will look to earn their first Big Ten win of the season Dec. 11 when they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-0).