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Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Basketball Falls to Iowa in Big Ten Opener

The Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team fell to Iowa in the Big Ten opener on Sunday.



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.

In front of a sellout crowd, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team welcomed the top-five Iowa Hawkeyes to the Kohl Center on Sunday afternoon for the first Big Ten game of their seasons. It was a closely contested game in the first half but Iowa eventually ran away from UW. Here is the full recap:

Final Score

Wisconsin Badgers (5-4 overall, 0-1 Big Ten): 

No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten): 

Four Factors

eFG%: 42.6

Turnover%: 24.7

Off. Rebound%: 27.5

FTA/FGA: 29.5

Key Stats

FG%: 39.3 (24-of-61)
Opp. FG%: 50.0 (33-of-66)
3P%: 20.0 (4-of-20)
Opp. 3P%: 40.9 (9-of-22)
FT%: 72.2 (13-of-18)
Opp. FT%: 70.6 (12-of-17)
Points Per Possession: 0.890
Opponent Points Per Possession: 1.160
Rebounds: 36 (11 offensive)
Opponent Rebounds: 40 (11 offensive)
Turnovers: 18
Forced Turnovers: 15


Team Leaders

  • Serah Williams: 15 points (6-of-9 FG, 0-of-1 3P), eight rebounds (two offensive), two assists, one block, one steal, -6
  • Brooke Schramek: seven points (3-of-11 FG, 1-of-4 3P), six rebounds, two assists, two steals, -17
  • Ronnie Porter: tied her career-high with 17 points (7-of-12 FG, 1-of-3 3P), seven rebounds (four offensive), three assists, one steal, -23
  • Sania Copeland: 13 points (4-of-10 FG, 1-of-6 3P), one rebound, one assist, one block, four steals, -19

Iowa Team Leaders

  • Caitlin Clark: 28 points (11-of-19 FG, 4-of-8 3P), nine rebounds (one offensive), five assists, +14
  • Hannah Stuelke: 21 points (8-of-16 FG), three rebounds (one offensive), three assists, two steals, +22
  • Sydney Affolter: seven points (3-of-5 FG, 0-of-1 3P), 12 rebounds (four offensive), four assists, one steal, +38 

Three Thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Basketball Loss to Iowa

1. Serah Williams is extremely important to this team’s success. This may be the most “no duh” statement ever made, but the difference between UW with Williams on the court and without was stark on Sunday afternoon. While most UW players had deeply negative plus/minus numbers, Williams was only -6 (shoutout Natalie Leuzinger for being +9!) on the game and controlled the paint while on the court.

She shot the ball efficiently, grabbed contested rebounds, and was a deterrent on defense as well. Doing all of that against a team like Iowa, when they know that she is the first (and probably second) option on offense, is extremely impressive especially as a sophomore.


I want to be frustrated with Marisa Moseley’s substitution patterns with Williams, but it’s tough to fault Moseley’s decisions. Williams picked up two fouls in the first quarter, sat for the final 3:20 of that period, was reinserted into the lineup at the start of the second quarter, but then picked up her third foul 2:24 into THAT period. It sucks, but Moseley had to take Williams out for the rest of the half or else she’d almost assuredly pick up a fourth foul before halftime.

Williams had just made a layup to give the Badgers a three-point lead before committing her third foul and Wisconsin was gaining confidence rapidly that they could hang with the Hawkeyes. Of course, with Williams out, Iowa ended up leading by 10 at halftime and UW only scored seven points the rest of the quarter. Moseley then bought a little more time by not subbing Williams in to start the second half and Wisconsin chipped away at Iowa’s lead. However, Williams committed an offensive foul 53 seconds after stepping on the court and the next time she subbed in, the Badgers were down 19 and the game had been decided.

Young bigs are going to struggle with fouls. We know this. But this was an extremely frustrating game for Williams because she was playing SO WELL outside of, you know, the fouling and there were multiple Upset Factors in Wisconsin’s favor that completely went out the window once Williams was relegated to the bench.

2. Halle Douglass looked more like her old self in her second game back from her ACL injury. She played 19 minutes and was more aggressive going to the basket, rebounding, and on defense. Douglass is clearly still shaking off some of the rust on her shot, but her ability on the glass and playmaking are already clipping along at a good pace. Her veteran presence on the court also shouldn’t be overlooked and I think by the time Big Ten play starts for real she’ll be an important part of the UW rotation, if not the starting five.

3. The Badgers improved on the defensive glass in the second half, but unfortunately the damage had already been done in the first half. Iowa had 10 of their 11 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes of the game and also scored all 14 of their second chance points in the first two quarters.

Part of this may be because Serah Williams played more in the second half than the first half, but it was only a two minute difference and she still only managed nine minutes in the final two quarters. Perhaps it was because the Hawkeyes called off the dogs a bit near the end, but the game was still in the balance for the entire third quarter so that doesn’t hold up completely.

I think Wisconsin identified a problem at halftime and focused on fixing it in the second half. That’s great to see, but ideally the effort on the glass would be there all game and not just for half of it. Specific shoutout to Iowa’s Sydney Affolter for her work rebounding. She was a monster under the basket.

4. BONUS THOUGHT: The amount of missed (wide open) layups in this game by the Badgers almost gave me a conniption. Pulling off massive upsets requires everything to go right for the underdog, and bricking uncontested layups in the first half gave us an idea of how the game was going to end up, despite Wisconsin’s impressive play elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

It’s kind of weird to say that a 22-point home loss where you didn’t make a field goal over the final five minutes of the game was a massive improvement over last year’s game against Iowa…but it was! The Badgers came out of the gate hot and went shot for shot with the No. 4 Hawkeyes for the entire first quarter. Hell, they were well within striking distance for most of the second quarter too.

But, when your best player is in foul trouble all game and the other team has a much higher talent floor, you probably aren’t going to pull off the upset. The talent gulf was never more apparent than when Iowa went to their bench. UW scored 11 bench points while Iowa had more than that in two separate quarters and ended up with 44 (more than half of their total) points from their reserves. Now, you can quibble with whether or not Hannah Stuelke should be starting over Sharon Goodman, but Goodman has started Iowa’s last six contests and Stuelke seems to be thriving in her role.


There is also the ::swallows bile:: the Caitlin Clark Factor to consider. Me being a hater aside, Clark was clearly still the best player on the floor and even though she didn’t go nuclear on the Badgers, she was still excellent. After a slow start, by her standards, Clark ended up with a pretty efficient game shooting the ball, rebounded well, and had more assists than turnovers. Her defense still leaves plenty to be desired, but she orchestrated UI’s offense like a world-class conductor and her last second three-pointer in the first half to push Iowa’s lead to double digits was pretty deflating. She’s a good player and I hate her.


It was really cool to see such a large crowd on hand for this game. Over 14,000 fans were there (seventh most in Kohl Center history for WBB) and, while I know many were Iowa fans or Clark lookie loos, it was a great atmosphere. This was a game that the Badgers can build on, while also showing them how far they still have to go.

Next Game: Wednesday, Dec. 13; at St. Thomas Tommies; 7:00 p.m. CT; Summit League Network; Schoenecker Arena; St. Paul, Minn. (I will be in attendance to cover this game since I can’t imagine too many of you have the Summit League Network).

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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