Illinois women’s basketball falls to Wisconsin, fails to overcome late double-digit deficit

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Photo courtesy of Farrell Shine/Illini Athletics

Guard Sara Anastasieska dribbles the ball during the game against Iowa state on Jan. 23. The Illini lose to the Badgers 68-47.

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s basketball team lost to Wisconsin, 70-62, Sunday in Madison. Sophomore forward Kendall Bostic led the Illini with 15 points, and Brooke Schramek led Wisconsin with 17 points.

Coming into Sunday’s game, both teams’ most recent games were losses to Iowa. Illinois lost to the Hawkeyes, 82-56, on Jan. 23, and Wisconsin lost 84-50 to Iowa on Wednesday.

Illinois defeated Wisconsin earlier in the season, 68-47, in Champaign on Jan. 9.

“​Obviously disappointed,” head coach Nancy Fahey said about today’s game. “I think a sharpness on the perimeter and our ball movement (need) to improve, and you know that when you get (in) an eight-point game, that’s gonna be the difference.”

Illinois went 4-17 from behind the 3-point line in Sunday’s loss.

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    Both teams got off to a slower start, with the first basket coming from graduate student guard Sara Anastasieka nearly two minutes into the game. After that, scoring was more back and forth, with the two teams tied at 8-8 with just a little under five minutes left in the first quarter.

    Anastaskieska and Bostic led the Illini in scoring in the first quarter, and each had four points in the first six minutes of play. 

    A pair of Wisconsin unanswered 3-pointers toward the end of the first quarter gave the Badgers an 18-12 lead after 10 minutes of play, and a 4-0 run by Wisconsin in the opening minutes of the second quarter gave the Badgers a 22-12 edge. Illinois called a timeout 1:12 into the quarter.

    “I think Wisconsin started off the game really strong, so we fell short kind of early,” Anastasieska said. “I think our second half, I think we won in the second half. We got better. We out-rebounded them. I think it just came down to that first half, where we kind of fell short.”

    Shortly after the timeout, the winds changed, and Illinois went on a 8-0 run over the next couple minutes to cut Wisconsin’s lead to two with just under six minutes left in the first half.

    “We just got more aggressive,” Bostic said. “We made better decisions with the ball on offense, and we finally were able to get some stops, which always translates to our offense.”

    The Badgers called a timeout and got a shot clock violation shortly after. Illinois scored and tied the game at 22, but a pair of Wisconsin free throws gave them a 24-22 lead with 4:49 left in the first half.

    Illinois’ scoring streak was short lived. Wisconsin scored another six unanswered points to take a 30-22 lead with just under 3 minutes left in the first half. A sophomore guard Aaliyah Nye gave Illinois a 30-34 deficit but Wisconsin took a double-digit lead with a minute left in the first half.

    The Illini entered halftime with a 35-24 deficit, but Anastasieska led all scorers with 10 points in the first half. Brooke Schramek led Wisconsin with nine points.

    Bostic scored a layup in the opening minute of the second half to cut the Badgers’ lead to nine, and a pair of freshman guard Jayla Oden free throws cut Wisconsin’s lead to seven, 35-28, 49 seconds into the second half.

    Illinois went on a nearly two-minute scoring drought, and Wisconsin’s lead climbed to 40-28. Wisconsin continued to build its lead throughout the third quarter, and with just under 4 minutes to go, the Badgers held a 15-point advantage.

    With about 2:30 left in the third, junior guard De’Myla Brown made the team’s first 3-pointer of the afternoon, and Wisconsin called a timeout immediately after. The Illini had a 38-28 deficit at the time. 

    Illinois’ deficit remained at 10 at the end of the third quarter, 52-42. Anastasieska did not score in the third quarter. With 8:17 left in the game, Wisconsin’s Julie Pospisilova made a 3-pointer to give Wisconsin a 55-42 lead. A junior guard Jada Peebles 3-pointer and Oden layup cut Wisconsin’s lead to 8. 

    “(Anastasieska) did a really good job driving, kind of breaking their zone up a little bit,” Bostic said. “So, I think that was kind of a big mood booster for us. And even Jada’s three towards the end. I think both of those were huge for us, just to kind of get us to keep going.”

    Illinois cut Wisconsin’s lead to five with 2:46 remaining. Anastasieska fouled out with 51.6 seconds left in the game and finished with 13 points. A Peebles 3-pointer cut Wisconsin’s lead to eight, 70-62. Peebles’ points were the last of the day.

    Illinois next plays Indiana on Wednesday in Champaign. 

     

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