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Cichy becomes starter for Wisconsin Badgers women's basketball

Tessa Cichy (22) is shown deflecting a pass during a Badger game against Concordia this season.

It's been quite a freshman season for Tessa Cichy.

Very few players go from being a walk-on to being a starter within their freshman season.

Cichy, of Somerset, moved into the starting lineup for the University of Wisconsin-Madison women's basketball team during the Big Ten Conference Tournament last week.

Cichy made her first career start for the Badgers last Thursday when they upset the University of Illinois in the opening round of the tournament. Cichy started again the next day, when the Badgers lost to Purdue 74-62. That loss ended the Badgers' season with a 12-19 record.

Cichy quickly made herself into an invaluable player for the Badgers. She saw action in 28 of the team's 31 games. She ranked sixth on the team by playing 13.0 minutes per game. Her 2.5 points per game also ranked sixth on the team. Cichy was one of the Badgers' most accurate shooters, hitting 46.8 percent of her shots.

Cichy came through like a trooper in the win over Illinois, scoring eight points. The Badgers only used six players in that game. Cichy played 36 minutes and the other four starters all played 40 minutes. Cichy netted a pair of free throws to bring the score within one, 57-56 in the final minute. Teammate Morgan Paige hit two free throws to give the Badgers the win.

Cichy stepped into the starting lineup when teammate Nicole Bauman was diagnosed with mononucleosis the day before the game.

Cichy came back with a strong effort against Purdue in the second round of the tournament. Cichy ranked second on the Badgers with 14 points and she led the team with six rebounds. Cichy was deadly from the free throw line in the tournament, going 9-9.