Badgers fall in 1st round of Big Ten tournament

Playing without starters Kjersten Bakke and Stephanie Rich, the No. 8-seeded UW women’s basketball team (10-17, 4-12) fell 57-39 to No. 9-seeded Indiana (12-16, 4-12) in the first round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday.

“Obviously, we were thin coming in, and our record is not what we were looking for,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “We won 10 games, in some cases short-handed and in other cases, just not very deep. Our kids battled. Jordan Wilson gave just the (Kjersten) Bakke dimension when she (Bakke) went down. Steph Rich was the Big Ten assists leader for a number of weeks as an off guard. So, I think they exceeded expectations, and we look to build on a lot of positives for next year.”

The loss ends Stone’s debut season at Wisconsin, while Indiana advances to the second round to take on No. 1 seed Penn State.

After Indiana took a 10-7 lead with 12:12 to play in the first half, the Badgers went on an 11-2 run to take an 18-12 lead at the 5:53 mark.

Then Wisconsin’s offense shut down and Indiana capitalized. A four-minute scoring drought allowed the Hoosiers to sprint to an 11-0 run and regain the lead at 23-18 with 2:04 to go in the opening half.

The Badgers staged a late first-half run, as a bucket from center Emily Ashbaugh and a pair of free throws from forward Ebba Gebisa brought the score to 23-22 with 0:05 remaining in the half. Indiana’s Cyndi Valentin closed out the half with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the Hoosiers to the locker room with a 26-22 lead.

Indiana came out firing in the second half, opening the period with a 13-4 run to jump out to a 39-26 lead with 11:26 remaining. The Badgers closed the gap to nine, but could not erase the deficit.

With Rich out of the lineup, leading scorer Ashley Josephson moved to point guard. The shift threw Josephson off her game, as the sharpshooter managed just two points on 1-9 shooting. Josephson scored her only basket of the game with 10:19 remaining in the second half.

“We had three people today that were playing out of position,” Stone said.

Despite a strong performance from Ashbaugh, who scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the final game of her collegiate career, Wisconsin matched its season-low in scoring with 39 points. Indiana’s stifling defense held the Badgers to 31.4 percent shooting, and the Hoosiers dominated inside to post a 42-33 edge in rebounding.

– compiled from staff reports