The Virginia Cavaliers ended their season with an 84-78 loss at Wisconsin in the Women's NIT quarterfinal at the Kohl Center on Sunday afternoon.
Virginia finished at 19-15 overall, while the Badgers improved to 22-12 overall. Wisconsin now advances to the WNIT semifinals against Western Kentucky on Wednesday, March 28.
Virginia scored the game's first bucket and held the lead throughout the first half. UVa jumped out to a 13-point lead, 21-8 with 12:20 on the clock. The Badgers responded with a 12-0 run to come within one, 21-20. The `Hoos then went on a 9-0 run of their own to go ahead by 10 points, 30-20. UVa held a six-point advantage at halftime, 37-31.
In the second half, Virginia re-built its lead to 14 points, 47-43 with 14:50 to go. Wisconsin then utilized a 14-4 run to close the gap to four, 61-57 with 7:47 remaining. The `Hoos upped the score to five, 69-64. The Badgers cut the lead to two again, 70-68. Driving up the court, junior Sharnee Zoll (Marlboro, N.J.) tangled up with her defender. As the duo fell to the court, Zoll was called with a charge. The UVa bench reacted and was called for a technical foul. With 3:19 on the clock, UW converted the two free throws to tie the game at 70-70. The Badgers then took the lead for the first time and never relinquished it.
"My assistant Jeff House got a technical and lost control," head coach Debbie Ryan said. "It was a turning point. It was untimely and uncharacteristic."
Senior Siedah Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) paced UVa with her seventh double-double of the season (11th of her career) with a season-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Lyndra Littles (Washington, D.C.) added 24 points and nine boards, while Zoll finished with 13 points and five assists.
Jolene Anderson led UW with 30 points. Janese Banks was the only other Badger in double figures with 19 points.
"We were having trouble with Anderson," Ryan said. "We were fatigued. She was the difference today. Wisconsin played extremely well down the stretch."
Overall, Wisconsin out-rebounded Virginia, 40-33.