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Women’s basketball: Badgers snap 9 game losing skid with win over Illinois

It took a team effort but the Wisconsin women's basketball team finally won its first Big Ten Conference game with a 69-57 win over Illinois on Sunday afternoon in the Kohl Center.

Thirteen Badgers (4-11, 1-11 B1G) saw the court in a high-energy performance on both offense and defense for the Badgers.

Wisconsin held Illinois (2-10, 0-9) to an opponent season-low 28.8% (19-66) from the field, while UW shot 40.3% (27-67).

The Badgers also outrebounded the Illini 50-40, UW's highest single-game rebounding total since the first game of the season. Illinois went to the free-throw line 23 times, making 15 for 65.2% while the Badgers shot 8-13 from the charity stripe for 61.5%.

Three players scored in double figures behind 22 points from Imani Lewis. The 6-foot-1 forward recorded her fifth-straight double-double, pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds, including six offensive boards, which tied her career best. Sophomore Sydney Hilliard added 18 points while Estella Moschkau chipped in 12 points, shooting 4-5 of 3-point range. Wisconsin scored 36 points in the paint and 15 second-chance points.

Wisconsin trailed 17-16 at the end of the first quarter but turned up its game in the second quarter.  A bucket by Lewis only 12 seconds into the quarter kicked off an 18-1 run as the Badgers outscored Illinois 20-5 in the period. The Illini shot just 6.7% (1-15) from the field for the period. Hilliard led the Badgers with 12 points at the break.

Coming out of halftime with a 36-22 lead, Wisconsin continued to play scrappy, team defense, holding Illinois to 16 points in the third period to lead 57-38 after three quarters.

Wisconsin gained its biggest lead of the game when Mosckau hit a 3-pointer just 29 seconds into the fourth quarter to put the Badgers up by 22 points (60-38). Illinois would cut the lead to 13 (62-49) with 4:21 to play but that was a close as it would get until a last-second triple by the Illini. Illinois used a tenacious full-court press to get back into the game, forcing seven turnovers by the Badgers in the period.

The Badgers dished off 16 assists, including six from Julie Pospisilova ,which tied her career high.

Wisconsin looks to continue its momentum into the week as it travels to College Park, Maryland, on Thursday to take on the seventh-ranked Terrapins. Tip time is 3 p.m.

(UW Athletics contributed information to this article.)

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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