The University of Wisconsin battled back from a 16-point first-half deficit, but fell one-point short, 60-59, in a spirited comeback against eighth-ranked and Big Ten-leading Penn State University. Ebba and Lello Gebisa each made three-point baskets in the final minute of the game, but the Badgers were unable to foul the Lady Lions' Kelly Mazzante as she dribbled out the final three seconds of the game after Lello's basket. Wisconsin drops to 5-7 on the season and 0-3 in the conference. Penn State improves to 11-3 and 4-0.
"I'm very proud of our basketball team's effort," said Wisconsin Coach Lisa Stone. "It was an outstanding comeback, a never-say-die, never-say -quit attitude. It was a great step in the right direction for this program: to come back from double digits and play against a team of Penn State's caliber demonstrates our capabilities."
Penn State used tight defense and a relentless offensive attack to take control of the game early. UW converted only two of its first 11 field-goal attempts and committed six turnovers over the first nine and half minutes, as the Lady Lions jumped out to a 22-6 lead. Mazzante, the Big Ten's leading scorer, tallied eight points during the run to pace a balanced attack that saw five different Lions find the basket.
The Badgers weathered Penn State's early flurry and battled back. Back-to-back three-point baskets by Ashley Josephson and four points by Jordan Wilson powered a quick 12-5 Badger run that narrowed the Lions' lead to nine points, 27-18, with six minutes left. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the half, and Penn State went into the locker room leading 35-26.
The Lions looked to extend their lead after the break, scoring six quick points and pushing the cushion back to 13 points two minutes into the half. The Badgers again stepped up their game and scored 11 straight points, while holding PSU scoreless for five minutes, to come within two points, 41-39 at the 13:00 mark.
Penn State quickly regained its stroke and, led by forward Jessica Brungo's nine points, outscored the Badgers 15-5 to push the lead back to a seemingly comfortable 13 points, 56-43, with 6:14 left in the game.
The Badgers dug down deep and mounted one last comeback bid. Defensively, Wisconsin held Penn State without a field goal the rest of the way and harassed the Lions into five turnovers down the stretch. On the other end of the court, the Badgers ended the game with a 16-4 run powered by the Gebisa sisters, who scored the final 13 UW points.
Penn State's four free throws on six attempts to close out the game were just enough offense to keep them ahead of the Badgers. Trailing by four points, Lello Gebisa knocked down a three-point basket – the first of her career - from the left elbow to bring UW to within 60-59. After a quick inbound pass, Mazzante sprinted up the floor trailed by two frantic Badger defenders as time expired.
Josephson and Lello Gebisa led the Badgers with 13 points apiece, while Wilson added 10 points. Brungo led all scorers with 19 points for PSU. Mazzante finished with 15 points on only 4-for-19 shooting.