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Kelly Karlis photo

UW's Kelly Karlis drives past Ohio State's Janai Crooms to score two of her career-high 24 points during Thursday's Big Ten tournament win in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Marsha Howard and Kelly Karlis just want to keep playing.

The two seniors for the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team combined for 47 points to lead the 13th-seeded Badgers to a 73-63 upset of No. 5 seed Ohio State in the second round of the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Marsha Howard mug

Howard

Kelly Karlis mug

Karlis

The Badgers (15-17) advance to play No. 4 seed Michigan in the quarterfinals today. This is just the third time the Badgers have won two games in the tournament and the first since 2009. They have never won three games.

Karlis, a redshirt senior from Medinah, Illinois, scored a career-high 24 points to lead the way, while Howard, a 5-foot-11 forward from Chicago, had her second straight double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“At this time of year it comes to your seniors,” coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “And the two biggest players that stepped up obviously were Marsha Howard and Kelly Karlis, making shots and getting stops for us on the other end.”

Howard, who scored 17 of her points in the second half, said the urgency of prolonging her career has helped fuel the team’s tournament run.

“We’re not ready for it to be over,” she said. “We expressed to our team yesterday that it was potentially our last game and we weren’t ready for that. And if they were willing to come out and fight and battle we’ll give everything we have on the court for us to be the top team.”

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Badgers were still down 46-37 late in the third quarter. But Karlis and Suzanne Gilreath each hit a 3-pointer to close out the third period as the Badgers closed to within 46-43.

Howard then hit the first two field goals of the fourth quarter to give UW its first lead of the game at 47-46.

Ohio State (14-14) regained the lead at 51-50, but freshman Imani Lewis put the Badgers ahead to stay with her first collegiate 3-pointer. That triggered an 8-0 run that included two free throws by Howard and a 3-pointer by Karlis to open up a 58-51 lead.

UW remained in control the rest of the way, making 10 of 12 free throws in the final three minutes.

The Badgers, the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten during the season at 28 percent, shot 65 percent from beyond the arc in the game (11-for-17).

The Badgers struggled offensively throughout the first half, shooting just 22.6 percent (7-for-31) from the field. After dominating the paint Wednesday against Penn State, UW was outscored 12-6 there in the first half and outrebounded 25-18.

The Badgers missed nine of their first 10 shots of the game, but managed to hang close to the Buckeyes with their defense. Late in the first quarter UW put together a 7-0 run on a 3-pointer by Gilreath, a basket by Abby Laszewski and two free throws by Karlis to trim Ohio State’s lead to 13-12.

The Buckeyes got hot from beyond the arc in the second quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to extend the lead to 32-19 before Howard closed out the half with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 32-22 at intermission.

But the Badgers, who had a habit of getting in big holes during the season, were unfazed.

“We fought out of holes much deeper than 10,” Howard said.

After losing both regular-season games to both Penn State and Ohio State, the Badgers face a similar situation against Michigan (20-10, 11-7 Big Ten). The Wolverines won 76-70 at Madison and 59-49 in the regular-season finale Sunday at Ann Arbor.

Howard likes the pattern.

“Twice to Penn State, twice to Ohio State, twice to Michigan,” she said. “Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, that’s our tournament.”


WISCONSIN

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

Karlis 37 7-12 6-6 3 2 3 0 24

Howard 39 7-19 7-11 11 3 5 3 23

Beverley 39 2-10 3-4 0 2 3 1 8

Lewis 32 2-7 0-0 7 2 0 1 5

Van Leeuwen 29 0-3 2-2 6 2 5 0 2

Gilreath 12 3-5 0-0 1 2 0 0 9

Laszewski 9 1-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 2

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

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

Totals 22-58 18-23 38 16 16 5 70

OHIO STATE

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

Grande 39 5-15 0-0 5 1 8 2 12

Santoro 30 4-10 1-3 3 2 0 1 11

Crooms 34 4-9 1-6 3 2 3 1 10

Juhasz 29 2-6 5-7 16 2 0 1 10

Waterman 26 1-10 2-2 6 4 2 0 5

Miller 16 4-6 0-0 3 4 2 1 10

Patty 22 2-6 0-0 2 3 0 3 5

Caretti 4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 22-63 9-18 44 18 15 10 63

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Wisconsin 12 10 21 30 — 70

Ohio State 15 17 14 17 — 63

3-pointers — W 11-17 (Karlis 4-4, Gilreath 3-4, Howard 2-3, Lewis 1-1, Beverley 1-4, Van Leeuwen 0-1), OS 10-27 (Miller 2-3, Grande 2-6, Santoro 2-6, Patty 1-2, Waterman 1-2, Juhasz 1-3, Crooms 1-4, Caretti 0-1). Blocks — W 3 (Karlis 1, Lewis 1, Van Leeuwen 1), OS 8 (Patty 4, Crooms 2, Waterman 2). Steals — W 5 (Howard 3, Karlis 1, Van Leeuwen 1), OS 2 (Crooms 1, Grande 1). Field goal percentage — W .379, OS .349. Free throw percentage — W .783, OS .500. Att. — 3,173.

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