Test comes 1 week early for women’s basketball

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s basketball team will take its 10-1 record on the road tonight as the Badgers square off against in-state opponent UW-Green Bay at the Resch Center.In what will likely prove to be one of the Badgers’ toughest tests so far this season, UW (10-1) hopes to carry over its strong performance from Sunday’s game against Albany.”I thought we were able to get a lot of people some experience,” Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone said of Sunday’s game. “We attended to the boards defensively and had more energy than we did against UIC. We were plagued by turnovers, and that’s a concern of ours and something we’ve talked about.””We’ve got to stay focused on some things that we didn’t do against Albany, especially our turnovers,” junior guard Jolene Anderson said. “That’s one thing we need to cut down, and hopefully just play our style of basketball.”UW-Green Bay (5-3) has already fared well against Big Ten opponents this season, with convincing wins against Minnesota and Iowa. The team will look to continue its solid play against the Badgers and hope to go 3-0 against the Big Ten, something the Phoenix have never done in program history.”What jumps out is what they did to Iowa and holding them to 29 percent shooting,” Stone said. “It’s something that we certainly are aware of, and it just shows that they play hard.”All five UW-Green Bay starters have been putting up big numbers so far this year. The Phoenix offense is led by senior forward Nicole Soulis, who was recently named the Horizon League Player of the Week. Also making significant contributions have been a trio of guards, junior Kayla Groh, senior Natalie Berglin and sophomore Rachel Porath.”I think Natalie is a terrific point guard,” Stone said. “She’s the engine of that team. If you put her with a great post player in Soulis, you’ve got a great point guard and a great post player that have been playing together for four years. They know how each other work, they both run the floor in transition, and they can both shoot the three.”Defensively, Stone plans to put UW guard Janese Banks on Berglin, Anderson on Porath and point guard Rae Lin D’Alie on Groh. On the post, Caitlin Gibson will have the tough task of matching up with Soulis.Similar to the Badgers, Green Bay’s team is one that can provide great depth down the stretch, with skill at all positions.”They’re five strong, and then eight or nine that come off the bench,” Stone said. “They’re deep, they’re solid, and they run their system really well. They’re well coached, and they’re a team that doesn’t quit. They play hard for 40 minutes, and they play really well together.”Even though the game will feature two Wisconsin schools, Stone isn’t approaching it differently than any other game.”I don’t like to use the word rivalry,” Stone said. “I think there’s a tremendous amount of respect for both programs. I don’t treat it as a rivalry; I just treat it as an opportunity to see two really good teams go at it and see whose game play is the best.”Stone’s team echoes that mentality and continues to take the season one game at a time.”I think our team just looks at it as another game for us to get better,” Anderson said. “It is Green Bay, it is in-state, but that’s something that we can’t focus on. It’s just another game for us to play.””It’s really important for us to come ready for this game,” Gibson added. “They’re very competitive. They’re a really good team, and they have a lot of weapons. We just want to play our hardest, and I know we’ll have the outcome that we want if we play our hearts out.”With tonight’s game and Friday’s contest against Harvard, only two games remain before the Badgers enter the Big Ten schedule. Stone and her team are hoping for a strong finish in their out-of-conference schedule.”It’s going to be a chess match of sorts,” Stone said. “It’s going to be a close game, and I think it’s the perfect time for this. They’re going to bring out our best, and hopefully we can bring out their best.”last_img read more