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Wisconsin women’s basketball: shorthanded Badgers lose to Iowa

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark had a triple-double and the Hawkeyes offense was too much for UW to handle.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 03 Womens - Iowa at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MADISON — Wisconsin Badgers women’s hoops (5-16 overall, 2-9 Big Ten) hosted No. 21 Iowa (15-5 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night, falling 84-50. The Badgers wore special bright pink uniforms in support of those affected by breast cancer. All players, including the Hawkeyes, wore pink shoes as well.

UW was without star Sydney Hilliard after it was announced just prior to tip that she is taking a leave of absence from the team to deal with a personal matter. We wish her well and hope to see her back on the court soon.

The Badgers were able to keep star Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes scoreless for the first 4:42 of the game, but only managed to score four points over that period of time. An and-one following a made layup and a three-pointer gave Iowa a 6-4 lead halfway through the first.

It was only a matter of time before Clark and the Hawkeyes got going. Clark hit a layup and deep three pointer to spark the Hawkeye offense who took finished the quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 15-8 lead into the second quarter.

The second quarter was The Caitlin Clark Show. The All-American outscored the entire Badger offense 13-12 in the quarter and finished the first half with 18 points. UW’s struggles at the end of the first quarter carried right into the second. UW shot 35.7% from the field in the quarter and was shooting 31% overall at half. Iowa, in large part thanks to Clark, took a 38-20 lead into the half.

Containing Clark was priority number one. Post-game, Moseley said, “I don’t know that you can prepare for a kid like Caitlin Clark. She’s so gifted at all three levels, getting to the basket, mid-range, great change and speed and obviously she pulled up for some deep threes. Sometimes the game needs players like that, women’s basketball needs players like that... The biggest thing for an Iowa team is you know Caitlin is going to get hers, you got to try and contain the other guys.”

Out of the half, UW was simply outmatched. Iowa scored practically at will in the third quarter, scoring 27 total points in the quarter. Julie Pospisilova and Brooke Schramek continued to struggle from the field, shooting 4-of-12 and 2-of-11 from the field respectively.

Wisconsin picked it up in the fourth, but it was too little too late. Schramek and Ellew both hit from distance and Pospisilova added five points to her stat line. Three Badgers finished in double figures (Ellew, Pospisilova, Schramek), but Marisa Moseley was once again forced to rely incredibly heavily on her starting five. Wisconsin’s bench was outscored 18-0 by Iowa’s bench.

The Hawkeyes were able to attack the Badgers in multiple different ways and it ultimately proved too much for UW to handle. Iowa center Monika Czinano was a dominant force in the post, scoring 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Clark led a strong Hawkeye attack from the perimeter, finishing with a triple-double (27/11/11).

Thursday night was one of the bigger crowds UW has seen this season. Moseley commented on the continued support from the fans: “I’m really appreciative... there’s young kids in the crowd who probably have aspirations to be Badgers one day and I think we owe it to them to give them the best that we can and know that if they keep coming back, they’re going to see something in this program changing.”

UW has a great chance to pick up a conference home win on Sunday when they host Illinois. Wisconsin will be celebrating National Girls/Women in Sports Day. Moseley is looking forward to another opportunity to pick up a big home win: “We played Illinois even after the first five minutes up at their place. I think our kids know that we gave one away up there. In addition to having a great crowd on Sunday, we have an opportunity to get a home win. We did that versus Penn State and it felt great for everybody.”

Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and can be viewed on the Big Ten Network.