Cards trump Badgers

Bowie drains 2-point shot with16 seconds remaining.

MADISON, Wis. - With less than two minutes remaining in the game against the University of Wisconsin, senior Tamara Bowie went down with a knee injury that looked as if she would watch the rest of the game from the bench.

But with less than 30 seconds remaining, she hopped off the bench and came in to hit the game-winning shot off a needle-threading pass from freshman Dana Collins. The Cardinals defeated the Badgers 81-80.

"I just made my cut, sealed and hoped it would go in," Bowie said.

In the first half, the Cardinals overcame a stifling Wisconsin defense and poor passing to stay in the game. Led by the shooting of junior Johna Goff and sophomore Kate Endress, the team lead by four at half time.

"Johna's shots were absolutely huge," Head coach Tracy Roller said. "Our kids learned a lot from our previous games, and it showed as they really stepped up when we needed it."

Bowie's shot sealed the win after her team blew a 16-point lead the Cardinals had accumulated with 11 minutes left to play. It later took Goff to spark the Cardinals down the stretch.

But defensively, the Cardinals (4-2) struggled to contain the height differential of the Wisconsin team (1-5) that featured three players taller than 6 feet 5 inches. Led by Emily Ashbuge, who had a career-high 17 points, the Badgers continually forced the ball inside to the post players. They then would easily turn and shoot over and grab rebounds over the shorter Ball State players.

"I felt like we were midgets compared to these guys," Roller said. "They were huge and the fact that we out-rebounded them (31-30), I am really surprised."

The Cardinals found trying to get by the Badgers on offense was no easier as Ashbuge tried to force the ball out of the paint with her defense. However, Bowie who led the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds - 23rd career double - said she never really felt like she got into her game offensively.

"I am a 6-foot post player, and (the height differential) was just something I had to adjust to," Bowie said. "I don't think I ever really found a rhythm. Sometimes the shot went in; sometimes it didn't."

On its fourth road trip and the third out-of-state road trip, the team battled through Thursday's game with physically beat-up players and a tired mentality to overcome the odds.

"We have been on the road forever and our kids are tired. Tamara is sick and our point guard, (Collins is playing with a broken tailbone) Roller said. "I put them in adverse situations and the team really stepped up. In this arena, I feel privileged to come out of here with a win."


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