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Serah Williams Leads Wisconsin Badgers WBB to Border Battle Win Over Minnesota

The Wisconsin Badgers’ women’s basketball program got back on track on Tuesday with a win over the Golden Gophers.



Wisconsin Badgers women's basketball forward Serah Williams
Wisconsin forward Serah Williams (25) scores on Iowa center Sharon Goodman (40) during the first half of their game Sunday, December 10, 2023 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team returned to action after a week off and beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers (for the third straight time btw) on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center. The defense was stout, Serah Williams was amazing, and Tessa Grady couldn’t stop making threes. Here is the full recap from Student Night in Madison:

Wisconsin Badgers WBB Defeats Minnesota in Border Battle

Final Score

Wisconsin Badgers (9-9 overall, 2-6 Big Ten): 59
Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-5 overall, 4-4 Big Ten): 56

Four Factors

eFG%: 46.4
Turnover%: 26.9
Off. Rebound%: 33.3
FTA/FGA: 21.8

Key Stats

FG%: 40.0 (22-of-55)
Opp. FG%: 33.8 (23-of-68)
3P%: 25.9 (7-of-27)
Opp. 3P%: 23.8 (5-of-21)
FT%: 66.7 (8-of-12)
Opp. FT%: 83.3 (5-of-6)
Points Per Possession: 0.881
Opponent Points Per Possession: 0.918
Rebounds: 43 (11 offensive)
Opponent Rebounds: 34 (12 offensive)
Turnovers: 18
Forced Turnovers: five 

Team Leaders

  • Ronnie Porter: nine points (3-of-8 FG, 0-of-3 3P), three rebounds (one offensive), four assists, one steal, +3
  • Serah Williams: 24 points (9-of-14 FG, 1-of-1 3P), 15 rebounds (four offensive), two assists, one block, +2
  • Sania Copeland: four points (2-of-9 FG, 0-of-3 3P), six rebounds (two offensive), two assists, two steals, -1
  • Tessa Grady: 15 points (5-of-11 FG, 5-of-11 3P), three rebounds, +5

Minnesota Team Leaders

  • Amaya Battle: 12 points (6-of-12 FG, 0-of-2 3P), four rebounds (two offensive), four assists, two steals, +3
  • Grace Grocholski: 13 points (5-of-15 FG, 3-of-8 3P), five rebounds (two offensive), one assist, one block, one steal, -4

Three-ish Thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers WBB Win over Minnesota

1. Tessa Grady is a walking bucket. She had another three-point explosion on Tuesday night, this time nailing five of her 11 attempts from deep to give the Badgers a spark off the bench.

Let’s take a look at a couple of her season-long stats because they are crazy. She averages 9.1 minutes per game (3,234th out of 3,303 eligible players) but is attempting 2.9 threes per game (993rd nationally) and making 1.0 per game (826th). When you extrapolate these numbers out into “per 40 minutes,” Grady is attempting the fifth (!!!) most threes per game (12.7) in the nation and making the 15th most (4.4) when you look at those numbers. Her three-point rate of 78.2% is 55th in the country and she scores 72.6% of her points (128th nationally) from beyond the arc.

She is a God damned sniper! Look at this play! They are running her off double screens to get her open off the inbounds like she’s Steph Curry or Sabrina Ionescu!!! 

Grady is making 34.9% of her threes on the season and my only advice to her is to keep shooting the rock. She’ll obviously need to make improvements to other areas of her game (she isn’t a great passer; needs to be quicker on defense) but for right now she is perfect as the “break glass in case of emergency” offensive option off the bench.

2. Sania Copeland has struggled on offense recently. She hasn’t scored in double-digits in her last seven games and is shooting poorly from all over the floor. HOWEVAH, she hasn’t let that affect her defense and on Tuesday night she kept Minnesota star Mara Braun in her hip pocket all game.

Braun has scored in double-digits in every game except three this season and Copeland is responsible for one of those. Tuesday night was Braun’s fourth worst shooting night of the season and only her third night registering more turnovers than assists. One of the more impressive parts of Copeland’s defensive efforts was how she limited Braun’s shot attempts overall. Braun has only attempted fewer shots in four games this year and three of those were games where she played under her season average in minutes. It came out to her third lowest usage of the season and fourth lowest points per shot attempt and points per play.

Copeland is regularly tasked with guarding the other team’s best perimeter player and she has taken to that role well. Her offense will surely come around as the season goes on, but she is starting to be known as a defensive pest around the Big Ten and I, quite frankly, love to see it.

3. Serah Williams continues to be metronomic in her excellence. She recorded a double-double in her fifth straight game and also moved into tenth all-time on Wisconsin’s career blocked shot list. She has only played 1.5 seasons in her career in case you’d forgotten. 

She started off the scoring for Wisconsin, as she often does, and also matched Minnesota’s output as a team (six) in the first quarter. Williams scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter, and 10 of UW’s final 13, as the Gophers tried to steal a road victory and she also secured the final defensive rebound of the game to make sure Minnesota couldn’t tie things up. Oh yeah, those three points that she didn’t score? She dished the assist to Grady for the three-pointer.

Any time the Badgers needed a play…Williams was there to make it. Even beyond the arc!

She won’t get the national recognition she deserves because of Wisconsin’s record and the abundance of post talent in the Big Ten, but Williams is one of the best players in the country and we shouldn’t forget that just because talking heads aren’t mentioning her.

4. Wisconsin’s entry passes are getting much better! Players on the perimeter are finding Williams in the post with manageable passes and she isn’t fumbling them. After back-to-back games where Williams had six and seven turnovers respectively, a three-turnover performance was a welcome change.

5. D’Yanis Jimenez had a walking boot on her left foot and Tessa Towers joined her in street clothes on the bench. Per usual, I am struggling to find any information on either one’s condition but hopefully it’s nothing serious. You may remember that Jimenez has already missed time this season with a knee injury suffered against Nebraska.

Final Thought

I don’t think you could’ve scripted this one better for the Badgers if you were Greta Gerwig. After an entire week off to lick their wounds and tipping off on Tuesday night just after a closer-than-it-should’ve-been MBB win over the Gophers, Marisa Moseley’s squad came out with a defensive intensity that Minnesota couldn’t match in the first quarter.

The larger than normal student crowd (due to it being Student Night) was into the game and helped push UW over the finish line to win their third straight Border Battle matchup. This one was probably extra sweet for Moseley due to Minnesota’s first year resurgence under new coach, and Wisconsin native, Dawn Plitzuweit.

The Gophers came into this game as one of the better stories in the whole nation and were playing way better than just about anyone outside of their locker room expected. Wisconsin didn’t care about any of that though and punched the Gophers in the mouth from the jump. They did it without key offensive piece D’Yanis Jimenez too!

It is frustrating that the Badgers appear to be on a rollercoaster this season and won’t consistently be stringing together wins, but they are always going to come out and play hard, which is something for Wisconsin fans to be proud of. After seeing the electric atmospheres at places like Ohio State, Iowa, Indiana, and others, it would be really cool if UW started to develop their own home-court advantage.

Coming up on Saturday, the Badgers have a big chance to win two in a row as Rutgers, one of the few teams in the Big Ten with a lower Her Hoops Stats rating than them, comes to town. The Scarlet Knights have lost 10 in a row, so here’s hoping that it turns into 11 this weekend.

Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 27; vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights; 2:00 p.m. CT; B1G+; Kohl Center

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Drew Hamm is a seasoned sports journalist with an extensive background in covering the Wisconsin Badgers. He has previously held positions as the site manager at Bucky's 5th Quarter and founder of Badgers Ball Knower. Currently, he contributes as a staff writer for