Women’s basketball: Johnson’s double-double pushes Badgers past Boilermakers

first_imgAfter what has been a long season for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team, the feeling in the media room after Monday’s 64-57 Wisconsin victory was one of jubilation, as Wisconsin (7-15, 3-9 Big Ten) upset Purdue (16-7, 7-5), notching their first win in nearly a month.Coming in riding a seven-game losing streak, the Badgers stormed out of the gates and controlled the pace the entire way, outscoring the Boilermakers in each of the last three quarters. The Badgers were able to use their three-headed monster of guards Dakota Whyte and Nicole Bauman, along with forward Michala Johnson to fend off a late Purdue run and seal the victory.Johnson, a sixth-year senior who has been riddled with injuries throughout her Badger career, had her best game of the season. She controlled the paint and recorded her first double-double of the season, recording 19 points and 13 rebounds. In addition to those stats, she made numerous key baskets down the stretch, including banking in a fade away jumper with under one-minute remaining, which kept Purdue from taking the lead .“I really wasn’t thinking about scoring in this game,” Johnson said. “I was actually just focusing on boxing out and rebounding. All of the coaches are on me in practice and every game about boxing out and rebounds. I knew my points would just come and I was just being patient out there the whole time.”Johnson’s star performance opened up the floor for the rest of the Badger attack as every player who checked into the game recorded at least one field goal.Whyte, who recorded 14 points and five assists in the outing, said from the start, the key was execution in the half court.“I think it was just taking every possession one possession at a time, that’s what I told everybody at the beginning of the game,” Whyte said. “Just making sure that we execute, but it definitely helps when your shots are falling in.”Wisconsin was able to get their first big win of the Big Ten season by playing within themselves and responding every time Purdue made a clutch shot. For most of the second half, the game was within six points, but thanks to some timely shooting and key defensive stops, Wisconsin never trailed.After the game, the entire team was looking forward to using this victory to jumpstart a successful stretch.“We definitely want to build on this,” senior Nicole Bauman said. “We play Michigan next, and then (Indiana). Those two teams are definitely beatable, so we want to keep winning and we want to build on this.”To Wisconsin’s credit, they have not lost their fire during the seven-game losing streak.Though the results have been few and far between this season, they have played tough during every game, and Johnson and the team know they have to work to maintain that fighters mentality.“It means a lot to us,” Johnson said. “Whether we win or lose, we’re still fighting and we’re never giving up. It feels good to win but we have to continue to keep fighting from here on for the rest of the games we have.”last_img