NOTRE DAME, Ind. (PRESS RELEASE) – The seventh-seeded University of Wisconsin women's basketball team fell 64-55 to 10th-seeded Vermont in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament inside Notre Dame's Joyce Center on Sunday afternoon.
Wisconsin (21-11), which made its seventh NCAA tournament appearance, was led by juniors Alyssa Karel and Lin Zastrow. Karel finished with 13 points, five boards, two assists, one steal and one block, and Zastrow posted 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
Vermont (27-6) advances to a second-round meeting against either Notre Dame or Cleveland State. The Catamounts were led by Courtnay Pilypaitis, who had 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block.
Wisconsin rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit with a 12-0 run to open the second half. The Badgers led by two at 35-33 with 15:13 to play, their first lead since just 2:51 into the game. UW led by three, 39-36, with 12:38 remaining before the Catamounts stormed back.
UVM used a 7-0 run to push its lead back to four, 43-39, with 9:05 on the clock. The Badgers came within two at 46-44 on a three by Karel, but the Catamounts answered with a 6-0 run. Vermont led by nine, 55-46 with 1:53 on the clock.
The Badgers came within four with under one minute to play, 56-51, but Vermont made seven of its last eight free throws, including 5-of-6 by Pilypaitis at the line, to seal the victory and earn a place in Tuesday's second-round game.
Wisconsin shot 22-of-61 (36.1 percent) from the field and was 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Vermont was 21-of-52 (40.4 percent) from the field and 19-of-27 (70.4 percent) at the line.
The Badgers out-rebounded the Catamounts 41-36. However, UVM held the advantage in blocks at 10-4, steals at 8-7 and assists at 14-13. Wisconsin had 15 turnovers to Vermont's 11.
Both teams got off to a slow offensive start in the first half. Neither team scored for nearly four minutes until a Karel free throw tied the score at 11-11 with 9:19 remaining. A layup by May Kotsopoulos sparked the UVM offense and a 10-0 run to give the Catamounts a 21-11 lead with 7:12 to play in the first half.
Vermont took its largest lead of the game at 14, 27-13, with 4:26 remaining in the half. The Badgers trimmed the deficit to seven at 29-22 on a jumper by junior Tara Steinbauer, but Vermont took an eight-point 33-25 lead into halftime.
Wisconsin gave up nine turnovers in the first half, which led to 12 UVM points. Vermont also posted five blocks, including three by Alissa Sheftic. The Badgers shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27) from the field in the first half to Vermont's 42.9 percent (12-of-28).
Despite their second-half rally, the Badgers could not finish as they fell to 2-7 all-time in NCAA tournament action.
The Badgers lose only two seniors to graduation – Rae Lin D'Alie and Teah Gant. Wisconsin wraps up one of its most successful seasons in program history with its third place finish in the Big Ten and its first NCAA appearance since 2002. The Badgers' 21 victories this season ties for the second-most in UW history.