Aaliyah Nye scored 17 points, Kendall Bostic notched her sixth double-double of the season and 14th-seeded Illinois snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 75-66 win over 11th-seeded Wisconsin on Wednesday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Illinois (7-19) is the first 14th seed to advance to the second round since Purdue in 2015. The Illini, whose only other conference win came in a regular-season split with Wisconsin, will take on sixth-seeded Nebraska Thursday.
Bostic had 12 points, 16 rebounds and six assists as all five Fighting Illini starters scored in double figures. Erika Porter, averaging 3.6 points coming in, scored a career-high 15, Adalia McKenzie had 14 points and seven assists and Jada Peebles added 12 points on 4-of-5 3-point shooting. Illinois was 9 of 12 from the arc to 7 of 29 for Illinois.
Katie Nelson scored 27 points with eight assists to lead Wisconsin (8-21). Julie Pospisilova added 17 points and Halle Douglass had 15.
Nye hit 5 of 6 from the 3-point line including her final one with just under a minute left for a seven-point lead. Nelson replied with a 3-pointer but Wisconsin didn’t score again. McKenzie took back her inbounds pass from Bostic and drove to the hoop to score, and three free throws wrapped up the victory.
Illinois led by 12 with just over three minutes to before Pospisilova hit consecutive 3-pointers to begin Wisconsin’s late push.
Illini outscored Wisconsin 25-10 — including a 12-0 run — in the pivotal third quarter, outshooting the Badgers by nearly 30% in leading 55-43 heading into the final period.
Wisconsin led by two after the first quarter and maintained a slim lead throughout the second quarter for a 33-30 halftime edge.