AP NEWS

UW women’s basketball team recovers, tops Pittsburgh to open the Challenge

November 25, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team’s perfect start looked to be in jeopardy late in the third quarter Friday.

The Badgers had been held to just four points through the first seven minutes of the third period against Pittsburgh and the Panthers had opened a 32-26 lead with a 7-0 run.

But the Badgers came charging back to pull even by the end of the period and then ran away with a 57-42 victory in their first of three games at the Challenge in the Music City.

Freshman forward Imani Lewis scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Badgers (5-0) outscored the Panthers 23-8 in the final period.

Coach Jonathan Tsipis credited his team’s poise with turning the game around following a timeout late in the third quarter.

“They kind of pulled together,” Tsipis said. “You talk about Pitt taking their biggest lead with a little less than three minutes left in the third and there wasn’t a sense of panic. I didn’t think we quick-shot it at that point. I didn’t think we tried to make superhuman plays defensively.

“I thought we stepped up, we guarded, we finished possessions off. We have to understand that belief that if something goes wrong and at the end of the day you find a way to do it, I think you continue to have that kind of confidence.”

The Badgers, off to their best start since the 2006-07 season, closed out the third period on an 8-2 run that included a 3-pointer by junior Suzanne Gilreath in her first game of the season after sitting out with a foot injury.

Lewis took over from there, scoring the Badgers’ first seven points of the fourth quarter to help them take a 41-38 lead.

Pitt (2-4), playing without leading scorer Aysia Bugg, got back within 43-41 with six minutes left, but the Badgers then took control with a 10-0 run that included four points each by Lewis and redshirt freshman Alex Luehring, who finished with 10 points.

The Badgers, who have struggled at the free throw line all season, made nine of 10 foul shots in the fourth quarter.

Senior Marsha Howard had an off night offensively with a season-low nine points, snapping her string of 11 straight games scoring in double figures. But she compensated for that by hauling down a game-high 14 rebounds, setting a tone as the Badgers held a 46-33 edge on the boards.

“On a day where Marsha Howard isn’t getting as many shots to go down, she just continued to hustle to rebound the basketball,” Tsipis said. “Two of her chase-down offensive rebounds, that becomes contagious and then all of the sudden you get Imani getting a couple more and Alex gets one. We know that Marsha plays with such an emotional component to her game and the kids look up to her.”

The Badgers were without sophomore guard Niya Beverley, who suffered a head injury in the final seconds of Monday’s overtime victory over IUPUI.

WISCONSIN

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

Howard 33 4-15 1-4 14 4 1 1 9

Lewis 24 7-10 4-6 6 3 0 0 18

Karlis 29 2-9 2-2 7 2 0 3 7

Van Leeuwen 30 2-3 4-4 5 2 5 5 8

Luehring 30 4-11 1-1 3 1 0 3 10

Gilreath 12 1-5 0-0 1 1 1 0 3

Laszewski 20 0-3 0-0 4 0 0 0 0

Bragg 11 0-0 0-0 0 3 1 3 0

Hale 8 1-3 0-0 0 1 0 0 2

Mueller 3 0-0 0-0 1 2 0 1 0

Totals 21-61 12-19 46 17 10 15 57

PITTSBURGH

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

Garven 34 4-10 7-10 5 2 2 4 15

Judkins 26 2-4 0-0 9 4 0 2 4

Whitney 34 3-10 4-5 3 4 1 2 11

Walsh 32 2-12 0-0 3 0 4 2 4

Nelson 24 1-3 0-0 2 2 1 4 3

Knight 11 1-1 2-4 0 1 0 1 4

Prapa 1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

Bradley 18 0-1 1-2 1 3 0 1 1

Henry 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Walters 17 0-2 0-2 5 4 0 1 0

Totals 13-43 14-23 33 21 8 17 42

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Wisconsin 10 12 12 23 — 57

Pittsburgh 12 9 13 8 — 42

3-pointers — W 3-18 (Gilreath 1-3, Karlis 1-5, Luehring 1-6, Van Leeuwen 0-1, Hale 0-1, Howard 0-2), P 2-13 (Nelson 1-2, Whitney 1-4, Garven 0-1, Walsh 0-6). Blocks — W 3 (Bragg, Laszewski, Karlis), P 3 (Judkins 2, Walters 1). Steals — W 2 (Luehring 2), P 6 (Bradley 2, Garven 1, Whitney 1, Nelson 1, Knight 1). Field goal percentage — W .344, P .302. Free throw percentage — W .632, P .609. Att. — 750.

AP RADIO
Update hourly