Following a first-round victory over Rutgers University, the Wisconsin Badgers were scheduled to face off against Michigan State Thursday night, a team who defeated Wisconsin at home 81-57 earlier in the season.
Providing the Spartans (9-7 Big Ten, 20-10 Overall) more of a battle this game, the Badgers (3-13, 9-22) were able to control a lead throughout the game and bring it down to the wire before eventually finding themselves down seven at the final buzzer, ending Wisconsin’s season, 70-63.
The Badgers ended the first half with a seven-point lead, however were outscored 40-26 in the second half.
“I’m really proud of our group,” Wisconsin, first-year head coach Jonathan Tsipis said to uwbadgers.com. “To be able to come back, having the game yesterday and again the first half I thought we did a phenomenal job attacking.”
The Badgers were leading 39-32 a minute into the third quarter when Michigan State went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 42. The Spartans ended the quarter up four behind senior guard Tori Jankoska’s 11 points.
A layup by redshirt senior Avyanna Young cut Wisconsin’s deficit to two points with 3:44 left in the fourth, however the Badgers would get no closer.
“I thank Wisconsin for being patient through all my ups and downs and how everything happened,” Young said, Thursday’s game being her final outing in a Badgers’ uniform. “I’m just happy that I was able to finish with the team and coach and everybody.”
Young finished the game with 17 points and five rebounds. Contributing to Wisconsin’s efforts was also junior guard Cayla McMorris, finishing with 18 points and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Marsha Howard added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Wisconsin ends its first season under coach Tsipis with a 9-22 record and managed to get its first Big Ten tournament victory in ten years.
The Badgers will lose Avyanna Young and Taylor Kuhn to graduation, but return every other athlete, providing a promising outlook going forward for the young team.