March 9, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS – The Wisconsin women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a slow start, falling to Illinois, 67-42, in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament on Tuesday evening.
Credit Source: University of Wisconsin Athletics
The Badgers (5-19) started the game going 0-18 from the field in the first quarter, scoring only two points off free throws in the period. Illinois (5-17) led 24-2 at the end of the first quarter but Wisconsin opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to cut the score to 24-11 with 5:02 on the clock. After a time out, UW couldn’t maintain its shooting, going 0-10 from the field over the final 4:47 to trail 32-12 at the half.
Wisconsin would be nearly equal to the Illini in second-half points (35-30) but could not overcome the first-quarter deficit.
The Badgers shot a season-low 25% (16-64) from the field, including 7.7% (1-13) from 3-point range. Illinois shot 40% (24-60) from field goal range and 32% (8-25) from behind the arc. The Illini also took and made more free throws, shooting 11-19 (57.9%) from the line while Wisconsin was 9-17 (5.9%).
Illinois outrebounded UW 48-41 and dished off 16 assists, compared to seven for the Badgers. The Illini scored 15 points off of 15 Wisconsin turnovers while outscoring the Badgers 17-4 on fast-break points as both teams had six steals.
Junior Imani Lewis picked up her 12th double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds, sharing game-high honors in boards. Sydney Hilliard also added 11 points.
Freshman Kate Thompson earned her third-straight start for the Badgers, pulling down a career-high seven rebounds while adding five points. Sophomore Julie Pospisilova added seven points and led the team with four assists while sharing team-high honors with two steals along with Lewis.
Straight from the court
Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis
“A credit to Illinois. Obviously they came out with an aggressive mindset. I think in every phase – coaching, execution, everything – they did a better job than us today. You saw a couple kids on their team play with more of a chip on their shoulder. They were able to score on us in a lot of different ways. They were active, they outrebounded us, they forced us into some turnovers. Obviously they were able to convert in transition.”
On the Badger offense:
“I don’t think we ever got in any type of rhythm offensively. It’s easy to say that when you don’t shoot it well but credit their defense. When you don’t shoot the ball well, really you gotta hang your hat defensively.
“ … we saw in the second quarter how you could hold them to eight (points) but we didn’t make any dent into (their lead) after being able to go 4-for-5 (from the field) to start the quarter. We felt like when they called the time out in the second quarter, we had the pace where we wanted to be, we had started to stack some stops in a row, and then we went 0-for-10 from the field to finish the second quarter.”
On the team:
“When you play your last game of the year, you want to be playing your best basketball – put the parts together between offense, defense and special situations, and we didn’t do that to the level we were able to do it.”
Wisconsin making women’s basketball head coaching change
Badgers to conduct search for new head coach
MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin has made a change in its women’s basketball program and will conduct a search for a new head coach, Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced Tuesday.
“I appreciate Coach Tsipis’s efforts during his five years with us, but we feel it is time for a new direction for our women’s basketball program,” Alvarez said. “I wish Jonathan the best as he moves forward.”
Wisconsin was eliminated from the Big Ten tournament on Tuesday and finished the 2020-21 season with a 5-19 overall record and a 2-18 mark in Big Ten regular-season play.