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INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team’s improbable Big Ten Conference tournament run came to a heartbreaking end Friday.

The No. 13 seed Badgers missed out on opportunities to win at the end of regulation and the first overtime, only to fall 73-65 in double overtime to No. 4 seed Michigan at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Three-time All-Big Ten center Hallie Thome scored six of her game-high 18 points in the second overtime to lead the Wolverines (21-10) to the semifinals against No. 1 seed Maryland on Saturday.

Sophomore guard Niya Beverley scored 15 points, matching her career high, to lead four UW scorers in double figures. Freshman Imani Lewis finished with 13, senior Marsha Howard had 12 before fouling out in the second overtime and redshirt senior Kelly Karlis had 10.

“Unbelievable effort,” UW coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “I was really proud of our team. We have kids playing 38 minutes two nights in a row. They gave us everything they had and fought really hard. Credit to our kids. You can’t ask for more than that. It has been an amazing three days.

“We’d really love to be playing tomorrow, but I hope our young kids see this and how special this time is and to be able to cherish it and be able to have a year, two years, three years of having that type of opportunity here in the Big Ten tournament.”

The Badgers (15-18) were playing their sixth game in 11 days and had advanced to the quarterfinals with victories over Penn State and Ohio State.

Beverley, playing on a sore ankle, played 127 minutes of the team’s 130 minutes in the tournament. Howard played 124 minutes and Karlis 122.

“Our strength coach (Abby Busch) did a great job of getting us ready each day, but it was pretty tiring today going into the third game, especially being so old,” Karlis said. “It was a big mental game because we knew we could push through it and get through those last few seconds.”

The Badgers trailed by as many as six points midway through the fourth quarter, but rallied with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 56 on two free throws by Lewis with 55 seconds left.

Amy Dilk hit a driving layup to give Michigan the lead with 33 seconds left, but UW tied it again on a layup by Lewis with 23.9 seconds remaining.

Michigan then missed a shot and UW rebounded with 3.4 seconds left, but Karlis missed a desperation 35-foot shot at the buzzer.

Michigan took a 63-60 lead into the final minute of the first overtime, but Lewis came up big again with a steal and a length of the court drive for a layup to make it 63-62. After a Michigan miss, Lewis was fouled on a drive with 3.7 seconds left and made the second of two free throws to tie the game. Michigan missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to send the game to the second overtime.

The Badgers struck first with a layup by Lewis but those would be their final points of the season as the Wolverines closed on a 10-0 run, with Thome scoring on two field goals and two of four free throws to account for the first six points.

“We put ourselves in position,” Tsipis said. “It’s great to see that response and I think it’s so positive because you see the legacy that Kelly and Marsha are leaving for the future.”

Howard’s 12 points lifted her into 21st on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,121 points, passing Faith Johnson.

But her biggest priority was in helping lead the Badgers to the third round of the tournament for just the third time in school history and the first since 2009. The team’s 15 wins are the most for the program since the 2010-11 season when they won 16 games in Lisa Stone’s final season as coach.

“My teammates were already telling me the legacy I left for them as I was walking off of the court and into the locker room,” Howard said. “I am proud to say that I was a part of a group that was able to expand our game into the third round of the Big Ten tournament and leave behind the will and fight to power through knowing that nothing is ever over. You always overcome obstacles as you compete and fight until that clocks says zero.”


WISCONSIN

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

Beverley 49 5-11 3-4 1 1 3 2 15

Lewis 41 5-14 3-8 7 3 0 0 13

Howard 44 4-10 3-4 8 5 1 2 12

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Karlis 48 3-9 3-4 6 3 4 2 10

Van Leeuwen 39 2-10 3-4 3 3 8 4 7

Laszewski 13 4-5 0-0 1 5 0 1 8

Gilreath 16 0-3 0-0 3 1 1 4 0

Bragg 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Hale 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

Totals 23-62 15-24 36 22 17 16 65

MICHIGAN

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

Thome 37 8-14 2-4 7 3 6 3 18

Brown 27 6-9 0-0 1 1 2 1 12

Dilk 45 4-6 1-1 9 3 3 4 9

Church 38 2-6 3-4 2 3 3 2 8

Munger 46 1-12 0-0 3 4 6 4 3

Hillmon 34 4-11 7-9 7 1 2 3 15

Johnson 14 2-4 0-0 2 1 1 1 4

Robbins 9 0-0 4-4 2 2 0 0 4

Young 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Rauch 0+ 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0

Totals 27-62 17-22 39 18 23 19 73

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Wisconsin 11 18 16 13 5 2 — 65

Miohigan 16 12 18 12 5 10 — 73

3-pointers — W 4-16 (Beverley 2-4, Howard 1-2, Karlis 1-3, Gilreath 0-3, Van Leeuwen 0-4), M 2-11 (Church 1-2, Munger 1-8, Brown 0-1). Blocks — W 5 (Howard 3, Karlis 1, Laszewski 1), M 2 (Dilk 1, Thome 1). Steals — W 11 (Karlis 3, Lewis 3, Van Leeuwen 2, Beverley 1, Gilreath 1, Howard 1), M 10 (Thome 3, Hillmon 2, Brown 1, Church 1, Dilk 1, Munger 1, Robbins 1). Field goal percentage — W .371, M .435. Free throw percentage — W .625, M .773. Att. — 4,014.

Bucky!

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