A disappointing season so far for the Nebraska women’s basketball team had another bad moment on Sunday, when Nebraska's horrible finish to the game allowed Wisconsin to win on the last play of the game.
Senior Kelly Karlis made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Badgers a shocking 70-69 win against Nebraska in Madison, Wisconsin. The shot was rushed, but came from a normal distance.
That was the only time in the 40-minute game that the Badgers led.
Wisconsin entered the game in last place in the Big Ten Conference and hadn’t won yet in 2019 with six straight losses.
Nebraska had a horrible finish to the game, after leading by 14 points in the third quarter.
The Badgers made a run and only trailed by two points to start the fourth quarter, but the Huskers recovered with a great start to the quarter, including three-pointers from Hannah Whitish and Taylor Kissinger to regain a 10-point lead with seven minutes left.
Nebraska still led by 10 points, 67-57, with 4:18 left in the game. But Wisconsin went on a 10-0 run in just three minutes and tied the game at 67 with 1:01 remaining. Nebraska had three turnovers in that stretch.
The Huskers took back a 69-67 lead with :0.7 seconds left in the game on a layup by Nicea Eliely.
Wisconsin took a timeout and was able to advance the ball near its basket. The Badgers only had :0.7 seconds left, with only time to pass the ball in and shoot. Karlis got the pass in the corner of the court, and in one motion got off a high-arcing shot over the arms of Eliely.
The shot hit nothing but net, giving the Badgers just its second three-pointer of the game on 10 attempts. The officials reviewed the play to see if Karlis had got off the three in time, and it was confirmed. Wisconsin had ended the game on a 13-2 run.
— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) January 27, 2019
For Nebraska coach Amy Williams, that shot was obviously a tough way to lose.
“We defended it well, and they just were able to catch it, square up, dip the ball and get it all off and shoot that in: 0.7 seconds and drained a three,” said Williams in a radio interview. “It was a big-time play. A big play for their team, and a tough way for us to lose.”
Wisconsin is one of the worst teams in the country at shooting free throws, but made its last six attempts Sunday.
Williams was proud of how Nebraska executed to retake the lead on Eliely’s layup with one second left, but was disappointed that Nebraska was in that position.
“That last play execution for us was really good, but before that we had a stretch where we just turned the ball over and it was not really good,” Williams said. “We didn’t handle ourselves really well down the stretch when we took a 10-point lead and gave up some easy baskets and some second-chance opportunities to them on the other end to get the back into the game."
Nebraska (9-11, 4-5 Big Ten) also had a bad finish to the game in a four-point loss against Northwestern in its last game.
Nebraska has played a tough schedule, and plays four freshmen a lot, but was hoping for more this season after returning its top five scores from an NCAA Tournament team.
Senior forward Marsha Howard led Wisconsin (9-11, 2-7) with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots. Karlis had eight points.
Kissinger led Nebraska with 15 points, including a stretch in the second quarter when she scored eight points in about one minute. She was 3-for-5 on three-pointers.
Kate Cain had her best game during the Big Ten season with 14 points and seven rebounds. Whitish scored 12 points, all on three-pointers, and had seven assists. Elieley scored 12 points and had five steals.
-- Brent C. Wagner