While UW kept it close in the first quarter — the Wildcats held just a 16-13 lead heading into the second — turnovers once again helped doom the Badgers to another blow out loss.
Northwestern’s defense pushed Wisconsin into pressure and taking the ball away. The Wildcats had 10 steals at the end of halftime, which was all of UW’s turnovers, and a 32-12 second quarter all but sealed the game for Northwestern.
The Wildcats shot 4-for-8 from three in the first half, to UW’s 3-for-11 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Veronica Burton hit three from downtown as she and junior forward Courtney Shaw led the Wildcats with 15 points. Burton and junior guard Sydney Wood had four steals each.
For Wisconsin, a bad day was made worse with star guard Sydney Hilliard coming out with an injury. Hilliard was visibly emotional on the bench as she iced her right elbow after only playing 27 minutes.
One bright side for the Badgers would be that many younger players saw important minutes. Freshman forward Kate Thompson had an early career-high of nine points as she led UW in scoring.
“I thought it was good that we got time to play together just because that hasn’t been something we got to do a lot outside of practice,” Thompson said. “I think in this game I learned to post up more and be more physical and just go up strong through contact.”
The road ahead won’t be much easier for the Badgers. Saturday, they’ll travel to face the No. 19 Indiana Hoosiers (4-1 Big Ten, 6-3 overall) in Bloomington.