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Women's Basketball Ends Season With Heartbreaking Overtime Loss To Wisconsin

March 18, 1999

Site: Kohl Center - Madison, WI

Game Result: Wisconsin 70, Michigan State 69 OT (WNIT Quarterfinals)

Records: Michigan State 17-14 overall; Wisconsin 17-13 overall

MSU's Next Action: Season Complete

MADISON, Wis. - What a difference a couple of days makes. Just three days earlier, the Michigan State women's basketball team was riding the ultimate high after a thrilling last-second victory over Michigan. On Wednesday night at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., the Spartans felt the agony of a season ending 70-69 overtime setback to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

MSU ends its 1998-99 campaign with a 17-14 overall record, while the Badgers improve to 17-13 and advance to the semifinals and will host Memphis on March 20.

"It's always tough to lose these games, but it's even tougher when it's the last game of the season," MSU coach Karen Langeland said. "It was a lot more fun on Sunday when we were on the other side of the coin.

"Our hats off to Wisconsin for playing a very solid game," Langeland added. "We struggled a little bit with our half court offense and that's a credit to their defense. They are certainly a much better team than the one we played in East Lansing. We felt very strongly that the Big Ten was going to win this tournament and I'd like to think that Wisconsin is going to do it and we will be behind them 100 percent."

The Badgers, who held a 32-27 halftime advantage, went up by seven points (38-31) at the 18:04 mark of the second half on a bucket by Tamara Moore. MSU regrouped, going on a 10-3 run culminated by a layup by junior Kristen Rasmussen to knot the score at 41 at the 15:46 mark.

A jumper by Kelly Paulus gave Wisconsin a 53-47 advantage with 11:44 to play before rookie Abby Salscheider came off the bench to score MSU's next five points and help the Spartans take a one point lead at 54-53 with 8:27 on the clock.

MSU led 60-57 with 3:19 remaining in regulation before Wisconsin came back to take a two-point advantage on a jumper by LaTonya Sims with just 47 seconds to go. Following a timeout by the Spartans, sophomore Christie Pung canned an eight-footer from the left baseline to tie the game at 62 all with 28 seconds left.

Wisconsin had several opportunities in the final seconds of regulation, but couldn't convert and the two teams went into overtime for the second time this season.

In the extra session, both teams held two-point leads before four-straight free throws by the Badgers gave Wisconsin a 70-66 advantage with just 1:41 to play. Each team turned the ball over on its next possession before MSU called a timeout with 55 seconds left.

The Spartans had trouble controlling the ball, but senior Pernille Dalgaard connected on a three-pointer, her only points of the game, from the top of the key with just one second left on the shot clock to pull MSU within one with just 40 seconds left on the game clock.

The Badgers turned the ball over on their end of the floor, giving MSU one last opportunity with just 7.6 seconds to go. The Spartans got the ball to junior Maxann Reese, but her three-pointer at the buzzer wouldn't fall, giving the Badgers the 70-69 overtime victory.

"I thought we played pretty well at the end of regulation and had the momentum going with us and we were confident going into the overtime that it was going to be a different outcome," Langeland said of the second extra session game between the two teams.

"It's kind of hard right now to focus on the big picture," Langeland added. "I think the bottom line is that we were a team that was playing better at the end of the season and a team that wasn't ready for our season to end. I thought we did some good things, some much better things than we did even in the middle of the year. Our defense improved tremendously, we got production from people coming off the bench and overall, I'm certainly not disappointed with the season. We basically had the same team back from last year and I thought we improved by leaps and bounds and I think you will see that same type of improvement next year. We'll be back."

Sophomore Becky Cummings led four Spartans in double figures with 19 points and 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Rasmussen recorded her 12th double-double of the year with 12 points and a game high 15 rebounds, while Reese contributed 15 points. Pung added 10 points off the bench for the Spartans. Dalgaard, the only senior on the team, scored three points and had one rebound in her final game as a Spartan.

Sims led the Badger effort with 22 points and six rebounds, while Moore scored 10 points and garnered eight boards.



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