Flames Defeat Wisconsin, 58-56, For Eighth Straight Win
Dec. 21, 2013
MADISON, Wis. - The UIC women's basketball team (8-2) won its eighth consecutive game Saturday (Dec. 21) with a 58-56 road victory over Big Ten program Wisconsin (6-5) inside UW Field House. Rachel Story scored a game-high 25 points and hit the game-winning three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.
The victory is the sixth win over Wisconsin in program history and the first in 34 seasons (1979-80 season). It snaps a 13-game win streak by the Badgers in the series. UIC has collected 25 Big Ten victories in program history and nine since the Flames became a Division I program in 1980-81.
The win is UIC's third Big Ten road victory in the Division I era. The Flames have defeated Northwestern twice away from the UIC Pavilion (2002-03 & 2004-05).
The Flames' 8-2 record is the best ten-game start in the Division I era. UIC started 9-1 during the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons.
It is also the first eight-game win streak since Jan. 11-Feb. 10, 2007 in the midst of a program-record 11 consecutive victories. Four of the eight victories have been over 2012-13 WNIT participants (Idaho State, Miami Ohio, Texas Southern and Butler).
"We had 11 days off after Butler and we were rusty in the win at Western Michigan. The coaches preached to the team that we had to play better to win at Wisconsin. I thought we were extremely focused tonight from the opening tip," said UIC head coach Regina Miller. "We limited empty possessions and mixing up our defenses kept Wisconsin off balance all night. We played a lot of zone in the second half. Offensively, we did not play a perfect game but we executed on key possessions. We were very aggressive on the offensive glass and that helped us a lot tonight."
Caitlin Garant's layup with 4:50 left in the first half gave the Flames a nine-point advantage at 28-19 and UIC led 30-24 going into halftime. Wisconsin tied the score at 45-45 with 8:34 left in the game, the first of four ties in the second half.
Two free throws from Jacki Gulczynski with 46 seconds left gave Wisconsin a two-point lead at 56-54 and Regina Miller called a timeout. On the next possession, Terri Bender found Story wide open on the right wing and Story buried a three-pointer to put UIC up 57-56 with 20 seconds remaining.
"We moved the ball well enough against their zone on the final possession to find one of the best shooters in the nation and Rachel made a huge shot," continued Miller. "You have to have a money player on your team to win games like this and Rachel has been making big shots for us all season."
Morgan Paige missed a jumper with nine seconds left and a free throw from Story put the Flames up 58-56 with five seconds remaining on the clock. Following a Wisconsin timeout, the Badgers failed to get a shot off and the Flames walked away with their eighth consecutive victory.
UIC won the rebounding battle (43-33) for the ninth time this season and the Flames are 8-1 in those contests. UIC had 15 offensive rebounds, the seventh time this season that the Flames have collected at least 15 offensive caroms.
UIC collected seven steals and scored 11 points off 11 Wisconsin turnovers. The Flames also held advantages in points in the paint (28-24) and second-chance points (12-6).
Story was 10-of-20 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point land. She had 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half and 11 on 4-of-10 shooting in the second half. Story owns two straight 20-point efforts, four this season and 15 in her UIC career.
Story has been in double-figures in 11 straight contests dating back to last season. The Flames are undefeated (8-0) with Story in the lineup.
Redshirt sophomore Ruvanna Campbell collected her eighth double-digit rebounding effort with eight points and 11 rebounds. She had six offensive rebounds, which is one off her season-high (7) at SIUE (Nov. 20).
Bender collected a career-high nine rebounds to go along with six assists, four points and two steals. Katie Hannemann (eight points), Emily Kobel (six points) and Garant (six points) all hit clutch shots for the Flames. Kobel made two-three pointers (105 career made three-pointers) and needs two more three-pointers to enter the program's Top 10.
UIC returns to the UIC Pavilion Saturday (Dec. 28) for a 7 p.m. contest with Denver (1-10). The Flames will match up with the Pioneers for the first time in program history.
UIC will be home for the first time in five weeks. The Flames made trips to Puerto Rico, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin since a 76-66 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 23 at the UIC Pavilion.