Lisa Stone is out as Wisconsin women’s basketball head coach.
Following a second-round exit in the WNIT Sunday, Stone was relieved of her duties, UW director of athletics Barry Alvarez said in a statement Monday.
Stone was 128-119 (.518) in eight seasons as the Badgers’ head coach. In 2010, she led Wisconsin to its first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2001-02 season. The Badgers earned a No. 7 seed, but were upset by No. 10 Vermont, 65-55. This season, UW finished 16-15 and fell to Illinois State Sunday to end its season.
Alvarez said the search for a replacement begins immediately.
“I am appreciative of the hard work Lisa has put into being our women’s basketball coach the past eight seasons,” Alvarez said in the statement. “She is a good person and has been a loyal and enthusiastic representative of our athletic department and university. Off the court, Lisa and her program have contributed much to our community.
“On the court, however, our women’s basketball program has not reached and maintained the level of success I believe is possible. Accordingly, I have decided to make a coaching change. We will immediately begin the search for a new women’s head basketball coach at Wisconsin.”
Following Wisconsin’s NCAA tournament berth in 2010, Stone was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by league coaches. In that season, the Badgers won 21 games, reaching the 20-win mark for the eighth time in UW history and second under Stone. Wisconsin also was 12-6 on the road, setting the program record for most road wins.
Entering this season, the Badgers faced high expectations. Yet, a grueling early non-conference schedule left UW with a 5-7 record entering Big Ten play. All seven of those losses came consecutively, as Wisconsin struggled against tougher competition, including Duke (ranked No. 5 at the time) Dec. 2. The losing streak began Nov. 18 at in-state rival Green Bay and continued until Dec. 9, when Wisconsin took down Drake, where Stone served as head coach from 2000 to 2003.
Stone’s squad also endured hardships through injuries, as star forward Tara Steinbauer was lost for the season after tearing the ACL in her right knee Feb. 16 at Iowa. The 6-foot-1 forward was widely regarded as the team’s charismatic leader, and she also finished the season as the Badgers’ third-leading scorer and rebounder with 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Co-captain and leading scorer Alyssa Karel (15.3 ppg) also missed the first three games of the season due to a leg injury. Karel also lead the team in assists with 3.0 per game. The Badgers went 2-1 without Karel, but after Steinbauer was lost for the season, they lost four of their last six games, including the WNIT.
“I would like to thank Coach Alvarez and the administration for their support over the past eight years. I would also like to thank my staff and players for their hard work both in the classroom and on the court. This program has meant the world to me, and I have put my heart and soul into it. It has been an honor to be the head coach for the Wisconsin Badgers,” Stone said.