ILLINOIS STATE 62, WISCONSIN 59
NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State (22-10) held off a late charge by Wisconsin (16-15) to win a WNIT Second Round game, 62-59, at the Kohl Center. The two teams scored 12 points in the final 32 seconds, but a late 9-0 run and clutch free throws by the Redbirds made the difference.
For the third-straight season, Illinois State advances to the WNIT Third Round. The Redbirds will host Duquesne Thursday at 7:05 p.m. in Redbird Arena.
Katie Broadway and Emily Hanley combined for 34 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 free throw shooting. Broadway led the Redbirds with 18 points, making three three-pointers and a career-high seven free throws. Hanley had 16 points and a team-best seven rebounds.
Illinois State had a seven-point lead with two minutes left and saw it cut down to one point in the final seconds. The Redbirds made five-straight free throws to close the game, ending the game 20-of-23 from the line.
Wisconsin made four of its first six shots, including three layups, to take an 8-2 lead three minutes into the game. Despite poor shooting to start the game, ISU picked off two passes on consecutive Badger possessions and turned them into transition points to take its first lead, 11-10, at 12:14.
The lead traded hands five times over the next eight minutes as neither team could put together a run of more than four points. Wisconsin shot just 3-for-14 after its efficient start and the Redbirds started the game 7-for-20.
Things heated up in the final four minutes of the half, with the Redbirds matching every Badger score with one of their own to keep the score tied at 26. ISU ran out on the fastbreak off a Wisconsin miss and Hanley kicked the ball out to Broadway for a three-pointer on the wing to give the Redbirds a 29-28 lead at halftime. Broadway made three three-pointers in the half to lead ISU with nine points. ISU closed the half shooting 3-of-5 from the field, including two Broadway triples.
Lin Zastrow started the second half with a three-point play and a three-pointer from the left wing to put Wisconsin back on top, 34-29. ISU scored three times off steals during a 12-2 run to pull back ahead, 45-41, with 8:40 remaining. Broadway scored six points during the run, knocking down four free throws.
Wisconsin tied the score at 48, but Hanley answered with two free throws and a three-pointer from the left corner. The Wisconsin bench was then called for a technical foul and Broadway made both free throws. On the ensuing possession, Amanda Clifton was blocked on a drive, but grabbed the loose ball and put in a layup to give the Redbirds nine unanswered points and a 55-46 lead with under four minutes left.
Wisconsin came right back with a 7-1 run in just over a minute to cut the deficit to three points, 56-53. Tiera Stephen drove the baseline for a clear look at a layup, but the ball bounced out and Hannah Spanich grabbed the rebound. The Redbirds had possession in the final minute and after Jackson missed a jumper with the shot clock winding down, Spanich grabbed the offensive board. She was fouled and made both free throws to make it a two-possession game, 58-53.
Alyssa Karel raced down the floor for a Wisconsin layup, but Clifton then beat the Badger press down to floor for a Redbird layup. Karel came right back down the floor to hit a pull-up three-pointer to bring the Badgers within two, 60-58, with 11 seconds on the clock. Wisconsin then deflected the inbounds pass out of bounds off a Redbird to regain possession and made one free throw to come within one.
Spanich was fouled right away on the inbounds and made two more free throws to push the lead back to three points with six seconds left. Krabel had a clean look at deep three-pointer from the top of the key on the last possession, but it rimmed out and Shala Jackson grabbed the rebound.