Badgers smoke Panthers

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoTalk about fast starts. The Wisconsin women’s basketball team got off to about as good of a first-half start as it gets, jumping out to an astounding 24-0 lead against UW-Milwaukee Monday night on their way to a 78-45 victory.”This is a game that, when you come into it, it’s going to be competitive and it’s going to be energetic,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “It’s just a game that you must be prepared for the emotions of. I think our team handled things very, very well.”After looking as if the Panthers might never score a basket, forward Megan Rogers finally got UW-Milwaukee on the board after nearly 10 minutes had elapsed in the game.Wisconsin (4-0) would finish the half with a 43-16 lead, after nine points from freshman point guard Rae Lin D’Alie.”That’s just something that was our game plan, to come out and start the first half strong,” guard Jolene Anderson said. “I think the whole team contributed. We just executed.””We stress that every game, getting good starts,” D’Alie added. “We just started out great, and we were intense and the defensive pressure was just awesome.”Milwaukee started the game in a triangle-zone defense in hopes of containing guards Anderson and Janese Banks. While it kept the guard tandem relatively in check early on, it allowed for D’Alie and company to find the basket.”They obviously tried to defend Jolene and Janese, and did a decent job of that, and Rae Lin got loose and hit a couple threes, and it forced them to adjust defensively,” Stone said. “That excites me to know that we have so many other options along with a great player like Jolene.”Nine first-half steals led to 17 points off turnovers for the Badgers, who pushed the ball up the court early and often.Anderson was Wisconsin’s top scorer on the night, finishing with 17 points to go along with her six rebounds. She was knocked out of the game in the second half after being hit in the mouth while going for an offensive rebound, but would later return.Banks added 13, and Caitlin Gibson and D’Alie each scored 12. The freshman D’Alie was a perfect 5-5 from the field, including two three-pointers, on her way to the highest point total of her young career.”[Rae Lin’s] amazing, and she gets better every day,” Stone said. “She wants to be better. That’s what’s great about Rae. She challenges herself every day. I love her energy, and I love her emotion. It electrifies the entire team.”Aside from getting a flurry of points from various players, Wisconsin was fundamentally sound with the ball, with only nine turnovers on the game compared to the team’s 18 assists. On the flipside, the Badger defense forced 24 turnovers, which they converted into 26 points, and limited the Panthers to just five assists.”We’re sharing the ball, playing hard, and taking care of the basketball,” Stone said.The stingy Wisconsin defense held Milwaukee’s leading scorer, center Traci Edwards, to just 10 points, shooting only 3-8 from the field. Sophomore guard Turquoise McCain also scored 10 as the only other Panther in double figures.Monday’s game continued the success the Badgers have had against UWM in the past. Wisconsin has won the past 10 meetings between the two teams and has only lost once in the 18 times the teams have faced each other.”Wisconsin outplayed us,” Panthers head coach Sandy Botham said. “They put a lot of pressure on us, and we just didn’t execute.”The 33-point win tied the mark for the team’s largest margin of victory under Coach Stone, and was the team’s biggest win over the Panthers since 1993, when they won by 50.”When you can be that aggressive and stay that intense and that focused in a game when the score is a bit lopsided … it demonstrated their character,” Stone said. “We showed our depth today. I’m thrilled. It was a great team win.”The win moves the Badgers to 4-0 on the year for the second straight season. The team will take its unbeaten record on the road as they travel to Las Vegas for a two-day tournament. Friday night, Wisconsin will face a tough Kansas State team (3-0, 0-0 Big 12). They will be matched up Saturday with either Elon or Las Vegas.”We’re looking forward to a challenge,” Stone said. “[Kansas State’s] a good team. They were WNIT champions, and they’ve got a tremendous tradition.”Stone added that her team seems prepared to face the tougher competition.”This team’s ready,” Stone said. “I think they’re looking forward not only to the trip but also the challenge of this game. We’ve got a great start, and we want to keep it going.”last_img

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