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Badgers look to keep rolling vs. UWM

first_imgThe seven-game skid is finally over after the Wisconsin women’s basketballteam (3-7) went on the road and defeated Drake (5-3) 60-49. Badgers headcoach Lisa Stone returned to the floor where she coached prior to Wisconsin. Senior guard Alyssa Karel scored 24 points to lead all scorers and seniorforward Lin Zastrow added another 15 points for the Badgers and notched 6rebounds.The Badgers will now get to return to the Kohl Center for anin-state rivalry game versus the UW-Milwaukee Panthers (3-5).The Panthers come to Madison on a three-game losing streakand will search for a rare win against the Wisconsin. The Badgers lead the all-time seriesbetween the two schools 19-1. Thelone win for Milwaukee was all the way back in 1992 when they edged Wisconsin78-77 in Madison, but have dropped the last 12. Despite a worse record than Milwaukee, the Badgers haveplayed a much tougher early-season schedule than the Panthers and should bewell-prepared after facing ranked teams such as Duke and UW-Green Bay.Milwaukee is headlined by senior forward Lindsay Laur, whois averaging 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Her skills in the post and outside the 3-point line make hera difficult player to guard and when she gets to the free throw line she knocksdown 94 percent of her shots.That type of threat could pose a real problem for theBadgers because in the last seven games Wisconsin has committed 135 fouls andallowed opponents to shoot 175 free throws. Although free throws have been an easy source of points forthe Wisconsin opposition the key to the game for the Badgers will probably beturnovers. A major contributingfactor to many of the problems Wisconsin has endured this season has been theinability to take care of the basketball. In its last five games UW is averaging about 20 turnovers per game.“We have to take care of the ball and I think right now it’sabout being fearless on offense instead of worrying about making mistakes, justplaying with confidence,” assistant coach Oties Epps said.Milwaukee also has two other double-digit scorers in freshmanguard Angela Rodriguez and freshman center Courtney Lindfors. Rodriguez leads the Panthers from deep,shooting almost 40 percent from behind the arc and averages 13.3 points pergame. Lindfors is six-foot-four, leads the team in blocked shots and is chipping in12.3 points per game.The Badgers have three scorers in double figures to matchthe Panthers. Those three leadersalso have experience that Milwaukee’s leaders don’t. Karell is averaging 14points per game since returning from an injury that caused her to miss thefirst three games of the season. Sheis flanked by fellow senior leaders and forwards Tara Steinbauer and Zastrow,who are each averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game.Another key for Wisconsin is the team’s feel for each other thatis developing now that the Badgers have had all of its players healthy for thelast three games. “It might not show in the box score, but our chemistry iscoming. Things are going to startto turn. I see it in practice, andsometimes it just takes a little bit of time,” Epps said.Sitting at 3-7 is not a comfortable position for any of theWisconsin players according to Steinbauer, but they aren’t panicking yet. The Badgers realize the impact the rashof injuries had on the early part of the season and also know that the seasonis just barely a month old with the entire Big Ten season left to play.The UW-Milwaukee Panthers may not be a top team in women’scollege basketball, but that isn’t what the Badgers need right now to get backon the right track. Wisconsin needsto gather their footing and try to finish the non-conference schedule with3-game winning streak, so that when the stronger opponents start to visitcampus they have some momentum.“We definitely have some uphill road to climb in the future,”Steinbauer says. “It isn’t enoughfor us to say that we can compete with the best, we want to be able to winagainst the best.So far in aseason that has had anything but guarantees for the Badgers, Steinbauer justgave one.“This is not the way things are; come the end of the seasonwe will not be a team with a losing record,” she said.last_img read more