BEN CLASSON/Herald photoThe UW women?s basketball team honored their seniors Sunday at the Kohl Center, but the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes had little sympathy, defeating the Badgers 87-78.The Badgers (16-11, 9-9 Big Ten) won the opening tip, but it was the Big Ten Champion Hawkeyes (20-9, 13-5) who stole the show from that point on, shooting 74 percent from the field in the first half.?I thought the intensity in this game was incredible,? Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. ?I thought we came out with incredible focus, and kept that focus even when Wisconsin got close.?With Iowa?s sharp shooting and Wisconsin shooting under 30 percent, the Iowa lead quickly stretched to 20 points in the first half.?[Iowa] got some early rhythm, and that really took us out of the game [at first],? UW head coach Lisa Stone said. ?We weren?t getting stops and then we were rushing shots. I thought our shot selection was a bit erratic to start the game.?Converting on 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, Iowa senior Johanna Solverson posted 23 points in the first half alone, finishing the game with 31. The veteran forward has posted career highs this season after missing the last two seasons rehabbing an injury.?I was excited to just come out and play,? Solverson said. ?This was a really big game for me, and it was nice to have such a great crowd come up [from Iowa].?Starting the second half, Wisconsin turned up the tempo by sustaining their full-court press, grabbing several steals of Iowa miscues. After an Alyssa Karel 3-pointer, the Iowa lead was cut to four.?It was tough trying to get over that hump; it was like we were right [within the lead],? senior Janese Banks said. ?When we were down two, if we could have just gotten that bucket, who knows what would have happened.?Although Wisconsin never led in the game, it pulled to within one point with four minutes left in the game. Both teams traded baskets throughout much of the second half until a late Iowa 3-pointer fell, dashing the Badgers’ comeback hopes.The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for UW, but the Badgers have won eight of the past 11 games, carrying momentum into the Big Ten tournament.?I think we have become a team, from the first part of the season until now, understanding individual roles,? Stone said. ?I am very confident in the depth of our bench and each other. There is a trust factor that has really started to evolve.?For seniors Jolene Anderson, Janese Banks and Danielle Ward ? the team’s top three scorers ? it was their final game at the Kohl Center, making the loss even harder to swallow.?It was a tough loss, but the university has been great to me and my family,? Banks said. ?Just to have everyone supporting me and such, it makes [the loss] easier.?With the regular season coming to a close, the Badgers now focus their attention on the Big Ten Tournament, something the team has been alluding to since turning around their shaky performance early in the season.?I like the fact that our team right now is believers and they?ve obviously demonstrated their ability to overcome adversity,? Stone said. ?I feel good with that strength going into the Big Ten Tournament.?With wins against higher-seeded opponents, Wisconsin has proven they can play with any team in the conference, setting even higher hopes for the conference tournament.?Our team is coming closer; when we get down early on, our team knows that we can?t get it all back in one shot,? Anderson said. ?We have to keep on working together and that?s been a reason we?ve been able to come together as a team.?
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