UW foes not too close comfort

first_imgWith only two non-conference games left before winter break, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team feels ready for the Big Ten season to begin.The Badgers are 10-1, but only three of their 11 games have been decided by 10 points or less — including their only loss, which came Nov. 28 at UC-Riverside, 52-50. But the lack of experience in close games doesn’t seem to bother head coach Lisa Stone in the least.”I like the fact that our young team is growing,” Stone said at a press conference Monday. “They’re excited about the fact that we have room to grow. They’re competitors. They want to win. You ask any of the players on our team what they want most out of this season, and the answer is they want to win.”The turnover bug seemed to plague the Badgers Sunday in the Kohl Center against Albany, as they committed 22 in all.”Right now, we’ve got to cut our turnovers down and take better care of the ball,” Stone said.In lieu of the excess of turnovers of late, Stone could not have asked for much more from her team thus far. In spirit of final exams on the horizon, Stone decided to give her team some first-half grades, which went as follows: an A for effort, an AB for defense, and a B+ for offense.Not bad for a team that had so many question marks coming into the season.Freshman phenomsOne positive note in terms of playing in so many blowout games thus far is that the Badger bench has been able to acquire minutes early and often.Freshman forward Mariah Dunham is averaging 7.7 points per game — while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range — and 4.5 rebounds per game off the bench.Fellow freshman guard Teah Gant is averaging 5.4 points per game and is playing phenomenally on the defensive end of the floor.Forward Brittany Heins and point guard Sarah Ingison are two more rookies that have played well in reserve roles for the cardinal and white.Despite having eight newcomers and no seniors, this Badger squad is fired up and determined to collect as many W’s as possible.”The fact that this team wants to win and is finding some success early hopefully builds some confidence,” Stone noted. “The experience that they’re getting now helps us continue to grow.”Anderson Put on National Spotlight AgainBasketball fans throughout the state of Wisconsin know the name Jolene Anderson. She leads the Badgers in points scored (16.7 per game, which is currently second among Big Ten players), minutes per game (32.3), rebounds per game (7.8), total 3-pointers (18), and field goals made (74).The junior guard from Port Wing, Wis., was named Freshman of the Year during the 2004-05 season and played on the USA Basketball team this past winter.Anderson has been recognized nationally once again, as she has been named one of the best 50 collegiate players nationwide, as she joins the list of Women’s Preseason Naismith Trophy Candidates.”The way [Anderson] played [Sunday], I think she’s very deserving of [the award],” Stone said. “Defensively, she’s one of our best. The way she moved [Sunday], she played as one of those top 50. I’m real proud of her.”The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious award presented annually to the men’s and women’s players of the year.In January, the Board of Selectors will narrow the list to 30 and those players will be eligible for the final ballot in March.Ohio State center Jessica Davenport, Purdue guard Katie Gearlds, and Michigan State guard Victoria Lucas-Perry join Anderson in representing the Big Ten Conference among this elite group.last_img