Last-second shot falls short as UW women drop 54-52 decision - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Last-second shot falls short as UW women drop 54-52 decision

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EVANSTON, Ill.  – A last-second shot fell short as the Wisconsin women's basketball team dropped a 54-52 decision at Northwestern Saturday afternoon.

With 36 seconds remaining and the Wildcats leading 54-52, the Badgers (11-16 overall, 3-11 Big Ten) had a chance to tie the game but NU's Maggie Lyon stole the ball with five seconds to play. Lyon missed the layup attempt as Wisconsin rebounded and had four seconds to score. Tiera Stephen got the rebound and brought the ball up under pressure. She passed to Jacki Gulczynski, whose last-second shot  fell short.

"Tiera (Stephen) was bobbling the ball but she got it to Jacki and instead of going up and trying to shoot it, she tried to fake and slipped," said head coach Bobbie Kelsey of the final play. "But we missed too many free throws and left their 3-pointer shooters open. Give (Northwestern) credit – they hit some big shots when they needed to."

Wisconsin led 48-45 with 3:26 to play on two Stephen free throws. A 3 pointer by Lyon tied the game at 48 with 3:15 to play. Cassie Rochel hit back-to-back layups for the Badgers, giving UW a 52-50 lead with 2:04 remaining before Lyon got open again with 1:47 on the clock and hit a 3 pointer to give Northwestern a 53-52 lead.

"We had our chances but we just couldn't capitalize," said Kelsey.

The Badgers missed two 3-point attempts with just over a minute to go. With 36 seconds remaining, NU's Danielle Diamant drove to the basket and was fouled by Rochel, her fifth. Diamant made the second of two free throws on the foul call, putting the Wildcats up 54-52 before Wisconsin's last-second attempts to tie the game. 

UW led 31-27 at the half after shooting 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the field but the Badgers made just 23.1 percent (6-of-26) in the second half to be outscored 27-21 in the period. Wisconsin finished the game at 35.8 percent from the field, including just 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from 3-point range.

Sophomore Jacki Gulczynski led all scorers with 16 points, including 12 in the first half, while freshman Nicole Bauman added 12 points.

The Wildcats (13-14, 5-9) shot 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the field but made 50 percent (6-of-12) of their 3-point shots. 

Northwestern had three players in double figures as Lyon and Kendall Hackney scored 13 points apiece while Diamant added 12 points.

Wisconsin finished at 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the free throw line, its fourth game this season under 60 percent. The Wildcats fared worse from the line, hitting just 50 percent (6-of-12).

"To lose by two and you miss seven (free throws), it's very obvious that you can miss one or two but you can't miss seven," said Kelsey. "Considering we are a pretty decent free throw shooting team, we just didn't hit them today."

Led by a game-high 14 rebounds from Rochel and 11 rebounds from Stephen, UW outrebounded Northwestern 42-35. It was Rochel's fourth straight game with 10-or-more rebounds. The 6-4 post continued her impressive blocking as well, recording four of the UW's five blocks.

"I though Tiera played a great game, helping and doing exactly what she was supposed to do," said Kelsey of her senior point guard.

The Badgers dished off 12 assists, led by four from Gulczynski and three apiece from Bauman and Stephen, but turned the ball over 18 times. Northwestern recorded eight steals and 14 turnovers.

Wisconsin led by 10 points in the first half after going on a 9-0 run in the middle of the period to take a 24-14 lead with 7:29 to play. UW led 26-16 with 4:08 to go before Northwestern went on an 11-5 run to cut the lead to 31-27 at the break.

The Badgers wrap up their home season on Thursday, hosting No. 24 Nebraska in its annual Senior Night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. from the Kohl Center and senior Tiera Stephen will be honored in post-game ceremonies.  

"We just have to continue to keep persevering and to fight and to their credit, our kids do that," said Kelsey.  "But this is our third game in a row that we've lost and we're right there (but) we just don't capitalize."

 

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