UW falls to Illinois on last-second shot
Three late Wisconsin turnovers and a last-second shot by Karisma Penn gave Illinois a 53-52 win in Big Ten Conference play.
The loss drops the Badgers to 11-4 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Illinois inbounded the ball under its own basket with 2.3 seconds left and freshman Karisma Penn made a layin to give the Illini the one-point win.
“With just 2.3 seconds left, they’re going to go either to (Jenna Smith) or (Lacey Simpson). That’s what you think,” said UW coach Lisa Stone. “It was a double stack, we thought they were going to lob (the ball) over the top. We took our eye off (Penn) and she made a free cut for a layup.
“But it doesn’t come down to that last play. We have to make free throws (and) we turned the ball over.”
The Badgers were just 3-of-7 from the free throw line in the last four minutes of play, including missing the front end of a bonus attempt. Wisconsin also turned the ball over three times in the last six minutes of the game, including once in the last minute.
Illinois (10-3, 2-1) led 41-36 with 11:33 remaining, but freshman Taylor Wurtz hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to two with 10:56 left. The Badgers tied the game at 41 on a layup by D’Alie with 9:10 to go. The game was tied four more times, including at 49 with 2:10 on the clock.
Wurtz, who finished with a career-high 14 points, hit another three-pointer with 1:33 left to put UW up 52-49. Penn made two free throws with 30 seconds to go to cut the lead to one before D’Alie missed the front end of a bonus on the next possession. The Illini missed a shot with three seconds left but got the rebound. The ball went out of bounds and Illinois scored on the inbounds play. Illinois scored 11 points on second chances.
“We needed to make our free throws down the stretch,” said Stone. “We needed to take care of the ball throughout the game and keep doing what we are defensively because I thought defensively, we were very, very good tonight.”
Wurtz was the only Badger in double-digit scoring but four other players finished with seven or more points. Wisconsin shot 43.5 percent from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range. Wurtz hit a career-best 4-of-6 from behind the arc.
Illinois was led by Smith with 18 points, while Penn finished with 10 points. The duo also pulled down eight rebounds apiece. The Illini shot 38.8 percent from the field, including 5-of-13 from three-point land.
Illinois outrebounded Wisconsin, 29-27, as D’Alie led all players with a career-high nine boards.
The Badgers finished 7-of-12 from the free throw line and turned the ball over 17 times. Illinois had nine steals, including seven from Simpson.
“I thought we played very well defensively, and offensively we got better today,” said Stone.
Wisconsin led by five twice in the first half.
“There’s a ton of parity,” said Stone of the 2010 Big Ten race.” I think that as teams get better and find ways to hold home court and steal some on the road, it’s going to be huge.”
The Badgers host Purdue on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be carried live on the Big Ten Network.
Last updated: 2:07 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012