Fourth-Quarter Rally Comes Up Short at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. -- Playing without its top two scorers, the No. 12-ranked University of Michigan women's basketball team cut the Wisconsin lead to four points with 2:52 remaining but could get no closer as Wisconsin pulled out a 78-70 win over the Wolverines on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 26) at the Kohl Center.

Michigan finishes the regular season with a 21-8 record and an 11-7 mark in Big Ten play, securing the No. 5 seed for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

U-M had a trio of double-figure scorers, with Maddie Nolan's 21 points and five assists leading the way. Emily Kiser recorded her second straight double-double with 17 points and 12 boards, with Jordan Hobbs turning in a career-best 16 points to go with five rebounds. U-M shot 40.0 percent (26-for-65) from the floor in the contest, with the Badgers hitting nine triples in the contest.

The Badgers took a 52-49 lead into the fourth quarter and hit a three-pointer to start the period. After a pair of free throws with 9:10 remaining, Wisconsin extended its lead to 57-49, its largest lead of the game to that point. Nolan hit a jumper on the other end to stop the run and bring Michigan back within six.

UW scored four straight, extending its run to 9-2 to start the fourth quarter, as Michigan was forced to call timeout with 7:26 remaining down 61-51.

Elise Stuck converted a three-point play as U-M scored seven straight to get within 66-62 with 2:52 remaining as U-M held the Badgers off the board for almost four minutes to climb back in.

Michigan stole the ball on the ensuing Wisconsin possession but could not cash in as UW eventually hit a pair of free throws with 1:50 left to pull back ahead by six. After Michigan came up empty and was forced to foul, Wisconsin split the pair at the line with 1:23 remaining to keep a seven-point lead.

Wisconsin continued to make good at the line, taking a 71-62 advantage at the 1:01 mark. A layup from Alyssa Crockett was followed by one free throw from the Badgers, with Nolan cashing in on her fifth triple of the game with 39 ticks left for a 72-67 UW lead.

Michigan fell behind 5-2 in the early going before a Nolan triple at the 7:54 mark of the first quarter pulled Michigan even at seven.

U-M grabbed a 12-10 lead but did not score for more than two minutes, with Wisconsin hitting free throws at 16-14 before a bucket to tie it at 16

Nolan hit free throws to tie it at 18 after 10 minutes as UW hit four triples in the opening 10 minutes on 50 percent shooting.

Cameron Williams grabbed an offensive rebound on Michigan's first possession of the second quarter, finding Nolan for a triple to give Michigan a 21-18 lead just seconds in.

Wisconsin answered with seven straight points for a 25-21 lead before Nolan cashed in on her fourth triple of the game, trimming the Wisconsin lead to 25-24 with 7:42 on the second-quarter clock. 

Nolan's triple ignited a 7-0 run of its own for Michigan, with Williams and Kiser also scoring for a 28-25 advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter.

Neither team led by more than four points in the first half as the Badgers hit the break with a 36-35 lead after scoring on their final possession.

Nolan made a driving layup to start the third quarter for the Wolverines to regain a 37-36 lead. After Wisconsin scored to take the lead, Hobbs made a layup and Greta Kampschroeder nailed a triple to give Michigan its largest advantage of the game, 42-38, at the 7:15 mark.

Wisconsin answered with six straight, holding Michigan scoreless for nearly 3:30 until Kiser got her own rebound to tie the game back 44 with 3:40 on the third-quarter clock.

Hobbs hit a triple with 1:22 left in the third to cut Wisconsin's lead in half, 52-49, and send the game to the fourth quarter.

Michigan will head to the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis as the No. 5 seed, kicking off the event on Thursday (March 2) against the winner of the No. 12-13 game at approximately 1:30 p.m. CT at the Target Center.

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