Wisconsin hasn't exactly enjoyed their annual in-state rivalry with Green Bay, but on Monday night the Badgers gave themselves a huge boost, taking down the Phoenix 65-61 in overtime at the Kohl Center. The win moves Wisconsin to 7-5 on the year.
It took a miracle buzzer-beater from Nicole Bauman, who only had 7 points on the night, to make it all possible though:
The win also means the Badgers finished 3-0 against the in-state rivals this season, doing that for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Leading the way for the Badgers was forward Michala Johnson, who poured in 22 points on 9-10 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from the free throw line.
Despite the win and Johnson's presence inside, Wisconsin was dominated on the stat sheet, as GB outscored Wisconsin 32-20 on points in the paint, 18-3 in points off turnovers and forced 20 turnovers to just 9 committed.
It was a classic example of why the game isn't played on the stat sheet, but on the court. Something Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth noted after the game.
"We won every single statistical category in that game," said Borseth. "Everything, except that last five-second shot, and missed free throws and lay-ups. We had opportunities, we had plenty. But Wisconsin stepped up in the end and made the shots they had to make to win it.”
He wasn't kidding, as the Phoenix went ice-cold in the second half—shooting just 7-of-24 (29.2%) and just 2-of-9 in the overtime period.
The Badgers trailed Green Bay by 32-19 to end the first half and trailed by 12 with five minutes to go in the contest, despite Green Bay's horrid shooting night.
Wisconsin apparently had enough of being bullied by the small school and woke up in the final five minutes, using an 18-6 run in that period just to force overtime against the Phoenix. In that run, Johnson poured in seven of the 18 points.
A win like this can build a program's momentum in a big way, especially over a team like Green Bay, whom the Badgers have struggled with in recent years.
UW will need that momentum as it goes to Illinois, coached by former Green Bay head man Matt Bollant, to open Big Ten play.
The Big Ten opener will take place on Friday, January 3rd at 7pm CT and will air on BTN.