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Wisconsin Badgers WBB Stumbles in Disappointing Loss to Northwestern

The Badgers fell short at home on Wednesday night.



Wisconsin Badgers women's basketball head coach Marisa Mosely
Wisconsin women’s head basketball coach Marisa Mosely is shown during the second half of their game Sunday, December 10, 2023 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Iowa beat Wisconsin 87-65.

Looking to start a winning streak, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team stumbled at home and lost to Northwestern by five points on Wednesday evening. This, quite frankly, couldn’t have gone much worse for Wisconsin!

Here is the full recap:

Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Basketball Final Score

Wisconsin Badgers (8-7 overall, 1-4 Big Ten): 69
Northwestern Wildcats (7-9 overall, 2-3 Big Ten): 74

Four Factors

eFG%: 47.5
Turnover%: 19.1
Off. Rebound%: 27.8
FTA/FGA: 23.3

Key Stats

FG%: 41.7 (25-of-60)
Opp. FG%: 39.1 (27-of-69)
3P%: 28.0 (7-of-25)
Opp. 3P%: 46.7 (7-of-15)
FT%: 85.7 (12-of-14)
Opp. FT%: 86.7 (13-of-15)
Points Per Possession: 1.015
Opponent Points Per Possession: 1.072
Rebounds: 36 (10 offensive)
Opponent Rebounds: 43 (17 offensive)
Turnovers: 13
Forced Turnovers: 10

Wisconsin Badgers Team Leaders

  • Halle Douglass: nine points (3-of-5 FG, 1-of-2 3P), four rebounds, four assists, one block, two steals, +6
  • Serah Williams: 16 points (4-of-9 FG), 10 rebounds (two offensive), two assists, six blocks, one steal, -5
  • Ronnie Porter: 14 points (6-of-14 FG, 2-of-7 3P), eight rebounds (two offensive), six assists, one steal, -2
  • Tessa Grady: 15 points (6-of-10 FG, 3-of-6 3P), three rebounds (one offensive), two assists, two steals, -4 (career high in points!)

Northwestern Team Leaders

  • Caileigh Walsh: 19 points (6-of-14 FG, 2-of-3 3P), eight rebounds (three offensive), one assist, one block, one steal, +1
  • Caroline Lau: 11 points (4-of-10 FG, 2-of-4 3P), 11 rebounds (two offensive), six assists, +2

Three-ish Thoughts on the Wisconsin Women’s Basketball Team

  1. Tessa Grady can shoot the rock, brother. With Brooke Schramek still out of the lineup and D’Yanis Jimenez limited to only seven minutes, Grady got 22 minutes of run in a reserve role on Wednesday night. To say she used them effectively would be an understatement.

    The true freshman out of Ohio scored a career-high 15 points while making three of her six three-point attempts. She added three boards, two assists, and two steals as well while providing a spark off the bench. While all caveats must be remembered when discussing a player who has yet to crack the 100 minutes played in college barrier…Marisa Moseley might have something here with Grady.

    She has a 61.8% eFG and is scoring 1.26 points per shot attempt while making over 41% of her three-point attempts. Grady isn’t really providing too much more to the Badgers outside of her superior outside shooting, but that skill is being performed at such a high level that anything else on her stat line is gravy.

    While bench players seem to fall in and out of favor with little (public) rhyme or reason, I’m hopeful that Grady has carved out a permanent role as a “break in case of offensive emergency” player.

  2. I wanted to start off with something positive (Grady’s shooting) because the rest of this post is going to be, uh, not as positive. When giving up 17 or more offensive rebounds this year, the Badgers are 1-3 and the one win was against a Northern Illinois team that shot 22.9% from the field so they probably could’ve gotten every offensive rebound that game and still lost.

    Well, Northwestern pulled down 17 offensive rebounds on Wednesday night and turned those into 21 points, which was six more second chance points than UW scored. Seems pretty important in a game that was decided by only five points!

    This is one of the areas where the Wisconsin Badgers really miss Brooke Schramek, who is the second best defensive rebounder on the team behind Serah Williams. Sania Copelad and Natalie Leuzinger are both non-factors on the glass and Halle Douglass is average (above average on the offensive glass though) so that’s 60% of your starting lineup that isn’t going to rebound well and, uh, that doesn’t seem good.
  3. Poor communication on defense led to too many open shots for Northwestern. The Badgers found themselves in a number of “scramble” situations on defense and they usually resulted in NU scoring points. The most egregious example of this was Northwestern’s final field goal of the game which, for all intents and purposes, ended the game.

    Oof, that ain’t good. It starts with Natalie Leuzinger tripping while pressuring the ball up the court and then results in Ronnie Porter not knowing which player to guard (although, to be fair, Paige Mott wasn’t her original responsibility) and Serah Williams reacting too late to the wide open Mott charging towards the basket.

    The Wisconsin Badgers haven’t been a very good defensive team under Moseley, but this year has definitely been the best of her three year tenure. Breakdowns like this show that there is still work to be done on that end of the court, but the effort has been there this season, which is important. But, it’s really not good if there is a defensive player AND an offensive player pointing in the same direction at another player.

  4. This team STINKS at throwing entry passes! Ronnie Porter is the only one who can complete them with regularity while the rest of the team just throws it into the post and hopes that Serah Williams will catch it. To be fair, sometimes Williams fumbles the ball but more often than not it is because the pass was terrible.
  5. Halle Douglass is a needed veteran presence on this team, but it is pretty clear that she is affected by her ACL injury. My wife tore her ACL a few years ago so I got a firsthand look at how tough the recovery is, even for a young athlete like Douglass. She is a step slow on defense and is also struggling to finish in the paint.

    With Schramek out and Jimenez recovering from an injury herself, Douglass has averaged 29ish minutes the past two games after not having played more than 19 all season. While her offense has been better the last two games, any points she scores are almost always given back on the defensive end.

    Until proven otherwise, I think Douglass should be on some sort of informal minutes restriction (around 20) to optimize her contributions to the team. Again, she is an important part of the team (leadership, heart, three-point shooting) but she can’t play starter’s minutes.

  6. It was great to see Jimenez back on the court after only missing one game. Hopefully she gets back up to full speed before the next game and can play more than seven minutes moving forward.

Final Thought on the Wisconsin Badgers 

There is no sugarcoating this game: it was a BAD loss for Wiscosin. The Badgers had a chance to get a conference winning streak going, something they’ve only done twice under Moseley, and they blew it. This Northwestern team is one of the worst they’ve had in years and Wisconsin got them at the Kohl Center with momentum from winning at Illinois and just continually tripped themselves up.

This isn’t a loss that will keep Wiscosin out of the postseason or anything but it could be the difference between having more wins than last year or not. I posted a whole thread on Twitter before the game about how this year’s Northwestern defense was putrid and UW should be able to score at ease against them. 

And do you know what happened? 

Wisconsin went out and only scored 69 damn points! Only three teams (Temple, Bradley, Southeast Missouri State) scored fewer points against NU this year!!! Even after this game, NU is still averaging 80.0 points per game allowed which is 350th in the country!!!!!!! THEY STINK AND WISCONSIN COULDN’T DO ANYTHING AGAINST THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even worse is the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers got open shots…they just couldn’t make them. Wisconsin shot 41.7% from the field, compared to Northwestern’s 39.1%, but NU ended up with nine more field goal attempts thanks to the aforementioned offensive rebounds. So…after taking some time to process the game I think it’s probably fair to qualify this as a Bad Shooting Variance Game and assume that normally UW would win this game. 

Sadly that won’t count in the standings, but I also don’t think this is a full blown PANIC situation for the Wisconsin Badgers…yet. Since this is a young team that is missing a veteran starter, wild differences from game to game are to be expected. As the season progresses we will need to see more consistency from the Badgers, but for now we’ll just have to live with the rollercoaster that we are riding.

Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 13; at Michigan Wolverines; 2:00 p.m. CT; B1G+; Crisler Arena; Ann Arbor, Mich.

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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