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Badgers women’s basketball team knocks off Purdue

January 1, 2019

The New Year’s Eve celebration came early for the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team Monday afternoon. Almost too early.

The Badgers looked to be on their way to a surprising rout of Purdue, opening up a 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter before having to fight off a late Boilermakers rally to hang on for a 76-69 victory before a crowd of 3,982 at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers (10-4, 1-1 Big Ten) had that crowd on its feet with a 14-2 run to stretch the lead out to 69-48 on a jumper by junior Abby Laszewski with just over six minutes left in the game. But after scoring just two points over nearly six minutes, the Boilermakers (10-5, 1-1) responded with a 17-2 run to close the gap to 71-65 with just under three minutes remaining.

But the Badgers managed to get stops on the Boilermakers’ next three possessions and were able to put the game away in the final minute to hit double digits in wins for the first time in five seasons.

“To understand how to close somebody out, I think is a learned quality as a basketball team,” coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I’m really proud of how we were able to string some stops together down the end.”

The Badgers were able to call on some experience gained earlier in the season, when they let big leads get away in back-to-back games at the Challenge in the Music City in Nashville, hanging on to beat Tennessee State one night but falling to Arkansas the next.

“I think our Nashville experience, we learned from it,” said sophomore guard Niya Beverley, who had a career-high nine assists. “We came together as a team today and we wouldn’t give up, we refused to give up. We talked to each other during that stretch and said ‘we got this.’”

It was Beverley who made the two biggest plays down the stretch. The first came on the defensive end when she got her hand on a pass from Dominique Oden intended for Karissa McLaughlin. The ball deflected off McLaughlin and went out of bounds for a turnover with one minute remaining.

“I saw (Oden’s) eye, I saw that she was about to pass it to her so I just wanted to get my hand in there,” Beverley said. “I saw it went off McLaughlin and I knew it was our ball right away.”

Beverley then ran the shot clock down and drove down the lane for a layup to give the Badgers a 73-65 lead with 34 seconds left.

“I just came off the screen looking to score,” Beverley said. “I knew we had to get a bucket and I saw nobody in front of me so I just kept going.”

Those were just a couple of the numerous big plays provided by each of the eight players Tsipis used.

Redshirt senior Kelly Karlis provided many of them early on as she scored 12 of her career-high 17 points in the first half to carry the Badgers to a 34-31 lead.

“I think I was just playing calm and whenever I come out pretty calm, I just play better and I’m not overthinking it so that helps a lot,” said Karlis, whose previous high of 15 points came during her junior year at Ohio University against Ball State.

The Badgers’ bench, which outscored Purdue’s 26-9, played a big role in the second half. First junior Suzanne Gilreath scored eight consecutive points as the Badgers opened the third quarter with a 19-5 run to open up a 53-36 lead.

Then after Purdue cut the margin to nine points, redshirt freshman Alex Luehring drove for a layup and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to stretch the lead back to 61-46 at the end of the period.

Laszewski, who also blocked three shots, scored three field goals early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead out to 21.

“I think it helps, especially with the bench players coming in and getting their confidence going,” Karlis said. “They really helped us.”

From the infirmary

Redshirt sophomore forward Grace Mueller has been sidelined once again by injury, sustaining a lower leg injury in practice last week. She could be out as long as six weeks. Mueller sat out her freshman season after being plagued by back problems and then missed last season with a torn ACL suffered in preseason.

Junior forward Courtney Fredrickson, who sustained a torn ACL in the second game of the season at UW-Milwaukee, underwent surgery Friday. She is expected to be ready for the start of practice next season.

PURDUE

min fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Harris 27 6-10 4-4 8 3 1 3 16

McLaughlin 40 6-19 4-4 3 3 11 3 19

Oden 30 5-9 0-0 6 4 4 5 12

Traylor 18 2-2 0-0 0 3 1 1 4

Farquhar 33 4-10 0-2 8 2 0 2 9

Gony 7 0-0 0-0 2 0 0 0 0

Whilby 5 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 0

Diagne 12 3-3 1-2 5 1 0 1 7

Stallings 7 1-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 2

Hardin 22 0-7 0-0 1 0 1 0 0

Totals 27-62 9-12 36 17 18 15 69

WISCONSIN

min fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Karlis 34 7-10 0-0 3 0 2 1 17

Howard 32 2-6 1-2 6 3 4 2 5

Lewis 32 4-10 2-3 9 4 0 5 10

VanLeeuwen 29 2-5 4-6 6 2 4 3 8

Beverley 34 4-8 1-3 1 2 9 3 10

Laszewski 16 4-7 0-0 4 1 0 1 8

Gilreath 14 3-7 0-0 0 0 1 0 8

Luehring 9 3-5 2-2 0 1 0 0 10

Totals 29-58 10-16 35 13 20 16 76

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Purdue 13 18 15 23 — 69

Wisconsin 16 18 27 15 — 76

3-pointers — P 6-21 (McLaughlin 3-12, Oden 2-3, Farquhar 1-1, Hardin 0-5), W 8-15 (Karlis 3-4, Luehring 2-3, Gilreath 2-5, Beverley 1-2, Van Leeuwen 0-1). Blocks — P 6 (Harris 3, Farquhar 2, Oden 1), W 8 (Laszewski 3, Lewis 2, Karlis 1, Howard 1, Beverley 1). Steals — P 7 (Harris 2, Hardin 2, McLauhghlin 1, Oden 1, Gony 1), W 8 (Lewis 3, Howard 2, Van Leeuwen 1, Beverley 1, Luehring 1). Field goal percentage — P .435, W .500. Free throw percentage — P .750, W .625. Att. — 3,982.

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