Wilson's clutch shooting saves Badgers

Junior forward's two free throws give UW 75-74 double-OT win in first round of Big Ten Tournament

The situation did not bode well for the Wisconsin women's basketball team. Junior forward Jordan Wilson, who had made just 7 of 20 free throws in 16 conference games prior to Thursday, toed the free throw line with 12 seconds left in double overtime and her team trailing Indiana 74-73 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Wilson, though, made both free throws to give UW a 75-74 lead. The Hoosiers had two chances to win it but came up empty, giving the Badgers a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

UW freshman guard Janese Banks paced all players with 23 points and led the Badgers back from an 6-point second-half deficit. Freshman guard Jolene Anderson struggled with her shot but hit the 20-point mark for the 11th time this season and finished three assists shy of a triple-double.

Wilson chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, but it was her clutch free throws that allowed UW (12-15 overall) to advance to a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Ohio State (27-3) at 11 a.m. Friday.

Heading into Thursday's 8/9 game at the Conseco Field House in Indianapolis, Wilson was a 50 percent free-throw shooter; 35 percent in conference games. But the 6-foot-1 forward was 5-for-6 Thursday, also making two clutch charity shots at the end of the first overtime, which gave UW a 66-63 lead with just eight seconds left.

IU's Cyndi Valentin, though, hit a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc with three seconds left in the first extra session to force only the second double overtime game in Big Ten Tournament history.

The Hoosiers (10-18) could not answer Wilson's second clutch performance, though. Leeann Stephenson had two shots in the final six seconds that could have won it for IU, but her attempts went astray.

Valentin led the Hoosiers with 16 points, but she had fouled out sending Wilson to the line moments before.

The loss ended the IU career of coach Kathi Bennett, who announced her resignation earlier this week.

The Hoosiers will not soon forget Wilson's free throws, or their own struggles at the foul line. Indiana missed 8 of 13 free throws Thursday, including an 0-for-4 performance in the final 2:23 of regulation

IU missed other chances to put the game away, going scoreless over the final 3:49 of regulation after reserve forward Jamey Chapman's half-hook gave the Hoosiers a 56-53 lead.

Banks' jumper with 1:28 left in regulation made it 56-55 and junior guard Ashley Josephson, who scored all nine of her points in the second half and overtimes, made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:02 left to tie it at 56-56.

UW had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but Banks' 3 with five seconds left was off the mark. Wilson tipped the rebound to Josephson but her buzzer-beater did not go down.

Banks, who played 48 of a possible 50 minutes, made a triple early in the second overtime to give UW a 69-68 edge. After IU retook the lead, Josephson followed with a triple of her own to make it 72-70.

IU junior forward Angela Hawkins made a pair of free throws to tie it and Valentin made a 2 to give the Hoosiers a 74-73 lead with 55 seconds left, setting the stage for Wilson's heroics.

The win was sweet vindication for a UW team that lost to IU in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament each of the last two seasons.

The Badgers survived a miserable 26 turnovers. IU also pounded Wisconsin on the glass, out-rebounding the Badgers 47-40.

Anderson, who was named the conference's freshman of the year Tuesday, missed 18 of 27 shots in scoring 20 points, but had 10 rebounds and seven assists while gutting out 46 tough minutes. The double-double was the fourth of her young career.

UW struggled in its only meeting with Ohio State this season, an 86-67 loss in Madison Jan. 27.

UWBadgers.com Box Score

Notable: Banks' 23 points tied a career high… Wilson struggled in Big Ten play this season, losing her starting spot six games into the league year. Thursday, she played 37 minutes despite picking up four fouls. Prior to playing 22 minutes in the final game of the regular season against Purdue, Wilson had played less than 20 minutes in 11 straight games…. 26 turnovers match a season high for the Badgers, who have turned it over 20 or more times in a game eight times this season… UW's 43 percent shooting was its best since shooting 52 percent in a win at Iowa Feb. 6… junior forward Annie Nelson played 39 minutes and grabbed eight rebounds.

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