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UW women’s basketball team edges Tennessee State to remain unbeaten

November 25, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jonathan Tsipis figures his University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team can only benefit from experiencing some close games during the non-conference season.

But he wouldn’t have minded if the Badgers had passed up one of those lessons in the second game of the three-day Challenge in Music City on Saturday night.

The Badgers appeared to be on their way to an easy victory over winless Tennessee State, only to see a 16-point lead vanish in the second half.

But redshirt freshman Alex Luehring scored all 11 of her points in the second half and knocked down two free throws with 8 seconds remaining to seal a 58-53 victory for the Badgers (6-0), who are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season.

“As you continue to grow you’ve got to make sure you don’t give another team confidence,” said Tsipis, whose Badgers beat Pittsburgh 57-42 Friday night and wrap up play at Municipal Auditorium at 7:30 tonight against Arkansas.

“We gave Tennessee State a lot of confidence tonight, Taylor Roberts especially. I think we made just enough plays to win tonight, so hats off to our kids.”

After getting off to a slow start, the Badgers looked to have taken command with a 12-0 run to start the second quarter to open up a 26-14 lead.

They maintained that margin through the end of the period, taking a 31-19 lead into halftime.

Junior Abby Laszewski played a big role in that by scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the half. She scored eight points in that 12-0 run.

The Badgers quickly expanded that lead to 16 on a 3-pointer by Luehring and a free throw by redshirt sophomore Grace Mueller a the start of the third quarter.

Roberts, the Tigers’ sophomore guard, took over in the third quarter, scoring nine straight points to cut the deficit to 35-28. She finished with 16 of her game-high 25 points in the third period.

Tennessee State (0-6) took a 49-48 lead on a jumper by Lauren Elliott midway through the fourth quarter. But senior Kelly Karlis hit a jumper for her only points of the game to put UW ahead and Luehring followed with a 3-pointer to make it 53-49.

The Badgers never surrendered the lead again, but they helped the Tigers keep things interesting.

Senior Marsha Howard, who led the Badgers with 15 points, gave UW a 56-52 lead with a rebound basket off a missed free throw by Imani Lewis. But Howard then missed four consecutive free throws and the Tigers made it a one-possession game with a free throw by Tia Wooten with 19 seconds left.

The Badgers then committed a turnover, but Wooten missed a shot, Luehring rebounded and got fouled and made two free throws to put the game away.

“It comes down to the last 57 seconds and Wisconsin got out of here with one,” said Tennessee State coach Jessica Kern, whose team does not feature a regular taller than 6-0.

Tsipis was relieved, but hopeful the team learns from the experience.

“You can practice on late-game situations but there’s nothing better than the real thing,” Tsipis said. “To be able to walk out with a win, there’s obviously a lot we still have to work on, but I’m proud of how they competed.”

TENNESSEE STATE

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

Wrightsell 20 0-1 0-2 5 5 0 2 0

Wooten 17 2-8 5-6 4 4 0 2 9

Roberts 32 9-21 3-6 6 4 0 2 25

Elliott 38 3-13 2-2 2 2 4 1 8

Sims 36 2-6 0-0 6 2 0 1 6

Young 2 0-0 1-2 1 0 1 0 1

Wrister 8 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 1 0

Banner 26 1-5 1-2 1 2 2 1 3

Pizzo 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Primas 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Outlow 16 0-3 1-2 3 2 0 1 1

Broner 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 17-58 13-22 35 21 6 14 53

WISCONSIN

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

Laszewski 24 5-7 1-3 9 0 1 1 11

Mueller 13 1-2 1-2 3 2 0 2 3

Karlis 22 1-4 0-0 3 3 0 2 2

Van Leeuwen 31 0-3 0-0 3 2 4 2 0

Luehring 29 3-7 2-2 6 2 1 3 11

Gilreath 13 0-4 0-0 1 1 2 1 0

Howard 23 7-11 1-5 7 3 1 2 15

Bragg 10 1-2 2-2 2 2 2 3 4

Hale 18 1-6 1-3 4 1 2 0 3

Lewis 17 2-6 5-6 8 4 1 4 9

Totals 21-52 13-23 47 20 14 20 58

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Tennessee State 14 5 21 13 — 53

Wisconsin 14 17 12 15 — 58

3-pointers — TS 6-16 (Roberts 4-6, Sims 2-3, Wrister 0-1, Banner 0-3, Elliot 0-3), W 3-17 (Luehring 3-6, Bragg 0-1, Hale 0-2, Van Leeuwen 0-2, Karlis 0-2, Gilreath 0-4). Blocks — TS 0, W 7 (Laszewski 3, Karlis 2, Van Leeuwen 1, Bragg 1). Steals — TS 9 (Wooten 5, Roberts 3, Young 1), W 3 (Hale 2, Luehring 1). Field goal percentage — TS .293, W .404. Free throw percentage — TS .591, W .565. Att. — NA.

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