Michigan upset by Wisconsin, 78-70, in road loss

27 days ago The Michigan Daily

The No. 12 Michigan women’s basketball team had a chance to end its regular season on a high note on Sunday. With a win in Madison, the Wolverines would tie their all-time record for wins in a regular season. 

But they couldn’t capitalize. 

Michigan (21-8 overall, 11-7 Big Ten) fell to Wisconsin (11-19, 6-12) in a road upset, struggling to defend the Badgers’ offensive attack throughout the game. Despite a strong showing from senior guard Maddie Nolan, Michigan couldn’t overcome a strong overall effort to earn a win in its final regular season game, thanks largely to Wisconsin guard Julie Pospisilova’s 25-point lethal offensive outburst and some strong three-point shooting. 

The Badgers found success scoring the ball right away as Michigan attempted to settle in defensively, making four early 3-pointers against the Wolverines’ depleted backcourt. Nolan responded with two of her own in the game’s opening minutes, clearly looking to pick up slack in the place of fifth-year wing Leigha Brown and sophomore guard Laila Phelia, neither of whom played in the game.

Nolan finished with 21 points, including five 3-pointers, once again leading the way for the Wolverines on the offensive end.

Early on, the duo’s absence felt apparent on the offensive end. Michigan ended the first quarter with five turnovers, struggling at times to possess, move and handle the ball against the Badger’s defense. But Nolan’s consistent production from deep kept the game close — driving the Wolverines attack early on.

Graduate forward Emily Kiser, who scored a career high in Michigan’s win over Rutgers, looked to make a similar impact against Wisconsin. But the Badgers appeared focused on limiting her production offensively — frequently double-teaming her in the post. All throughout the game, that strategy proved somewhat successful — limiting her to 16 points. 

At halftime, Kiser and the Wolverines went to the locker room losing 36-35. She had scored eight points, shooting just 30% from the field. 

Michigan struggled to get its role players involved offensively in recent contests against No. 16 Ohio State and Rutgers, and Wisconsin appeared committed to challenging Michigan to find scoring elsewhere, keying on Nolan and Kiser heavily in the second half. In response, sophomore guard Jordan Hobbs — starting in the place of Phelia — played one of her best games of the season. Her career high 16 points kept the Wolverines within striking distance in the third quarter.

But a dominant showing in the fourth appeared to put the game out of reach. 

Pospisilova gashed the Michigan defense, scoring from every spot on the court. But the well-rounded success of the Badgers on offense — particularly from deep — kept the game out of arm’s reach as it went on. Even as the Wolverines found some limited success of their own in the quarter, Wisconsin was able to pad its lead by trading threes for twos. Each made 3-pointer put those chances further and further away. 

Michigan never gave up, though. 

Some late forced turnovers by the Wolverines kept their comeback hopes alive, and their ability to keep the Wisconsin lead within single digits made sure that the game wasn’t truly over despite their struggles at both ends. A three-point play from junior forward Elise Stuck put Michigan back within four, with around two minutes left. 

But the effort fell short. Costly turnovers and a strong closeout from the Badgers put the game away in its final moments. 

In the end, Michigan was unable to tie its regular season record for wins, and ended up finishing the year on a bad note.

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