The Badgers held their own after coming back from a three point deficit at halftime to defeat Wofford College 78-65 on Nov. 10.
Halftime was a turning point for Wisconsin. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis said, “The first thing we talked about was taking a deep breath,” after they headed to the locker room. The team rallied and came back in the second half, going on a 32-7 run, reclaiming the lead that Wofford took to end the first half.
Leading in points for the Badgers was senior Suzanne Gilreath. She scored 21 points in total, sinking five out of ten from behind the three-point line and going two for two from behind the free-throw line. She surpassed Dolly Rademaker and now holds the seventh place spot for career three-pointers made with 175.
Guard Kendra Van Leeuwen was also a key player in the Badgers’ comeback, she had eight rebounds and 11 assists. The last time Van Leeuwen had 11 or more assists was against Evansville on Dec. 21 of the 2018-19 season when she recorded 11. She has 353 career assists, just nine shy of the team top-10 for career assists.
She credits her success to her teammates. “I can’t get assists without my teammates being able to hit the shots and that really showed today,” she said.
Both Gilreath and Van Leeuwen know their positions as senior leaders for the team. Gilreath acknowledged that by saying “We need to lead by example. Just come in, do extra, get shots up, be more vocal,” she said.
The team shared responsibilities throughout the game. “I think it speaks to our maturity to have different kids be able to do different things,” Tsipis said. He also commented on Gilreath and Van Leeuwen’s games saying “Sue is too humble to say it, but she’s growing as a defender,” he said. “Kendra’s mindset doesn’t change whether she’s on the ball or off the ball and making sure she can get her teammates into positions of success.”
Sydney Hilliard was second for the Badgers in points. Scoring 14, she went two for two behind the three-point line. Next up was sophomore Imani Lewis with 12 points. She also locked down 10 rebounds to claim herself a double-double.
Wofford was led by Wisconsin-native Chloe Wanink who scored 13 points and Da’Ja Green with 11 points and six assists. Also notable was Jamari McDavid with 10 rebounds.
Wisconsin will be headed to the University of Colorado on Thurs. Nov. 14 for their first road game of the season to take on the Buffaloes.
–UW-Madison Athletic Communications