Regular season kicks off for UW

first_imgGREG DIXON/Herald photoFollowing a strong finish in a 71-38 exhibition victory over the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team travels to Brookings, S.D., for its regular season opener against South Dakota State tonight.As the Badgers prepare for a difficult test defensively against the Jackrabbits, head coach Lisa Stone is encouraged by her team’s play near the end of its lone exhibition matchup.“We had made a statement with, I believe it was 2:32 left to go in the game, [about] not allowing 40 points, and they locked down,” Stone said following the exhibition game. “We didn’t foul, played really good defense, got some key rebounds and executed offensively.”Another aspect in which the Badgers excelled against the Falcons was maintaining possession of the ball, something UW struggled last season as it averaged 16 turnovers per game.In their exhibition victory, the cardinal and white turned the ball over just 11 times while playing every player in uniform on their bench. Additionally, the Badgers were able to force 31 turnovers, which led to 35 points offensively.South Dakota State (1-0) will provide a much stronger test for Wisconsin as the Jackrabbits received votes in the preseason AP poll and return four starters from last year’s squad.“The Jackrabbits are very fast, they can shoot the three [and] they push the ball down the floor,” Stone said. “We are going to have to defend the 3-point line and transition offense, and [they are] a team that’s going to make us work hard offensively.”Despite having to open the regular season on the road, one advantage Stone believes her team has is the ability to focus solely on one opponent for an entire week. South Dakota State, however, opened its season Friday with a 55-50 road victory over Missouri.“For us, it gives us a bit more time to prepare,” Stone said. “They’re preparing for Missouri while we’re preparing for them, and they’ll have a quick turnaround before they play us.”Last season’s matchup between the two squads resulted in a 66-62 home victory for Wisconsin, but the Badgers will face a much stiffer challenge in Monday’s game.“Obviously, it’s going to be a difficult task, and we definitely have to focus and get prepared for it,” sophomore guard Alyssa Karel said. “I think that with our team this year, it’s a good opportunity for us to kind of showcase what we’ve been working on and to prove that we shouldn’t be taken easily.”Despite knowing that a win in their first regular season game could go a long way toward the success of their season, the Badger players aren’t focused solely on the end result. They know in working toward a win the process is important as well.“I think it would be a big boost for us and a big confidence builder,” freshman guard Jamie Russell said. “But I don’t think we should go out there thinking whether we should win or lose. I think we need to go out there and play within ourselves and within our new defense. I think we’ll come out with a win if we play to our potential.”Following the game against UW-River Falls, Wisconsin is clearly not a team that has one go-to player leading the way offensively this season. In that game, the Badgers had three players scoring in double figures, with Russell’s 15 points leading the way and sophomore Tara Steinbauer and junior Rae Lin D’Alie adding 12 and 11 points, respectively. Additionally, Karel and freshman Ashley Thomas added nine points each.“We have a lot of different kinds of threats,” Karel said. “A lot of people were able to step up and kind of prove something, so we need to continue to play that way because if we have a ton of different weapons that we can utilize, that makes us more difficult to defend.”last_img

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