Badgers holding heads high despite recent losing streak

first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoAfter opening the season with four straight wins, Wisconsin women’s basketball head coach Lisa Stone had high hopes of turning the program around in just her third year.Despite losing the ensuing five games — most recently a heartbreaking 90-87 double-overtime loss at Kansas — Stone’s hopes have not been squashed.”You stay the course,” Stone said. “We don’t need to flinch. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel — that’s not what it’s about. It’s about our preparation, our demands, how hard we practice and our effort that’ll be demonstrated on the court.”There’s no denying the effort the Badgers have put forth in their current five game skid as the last three games have been decided by a margin of five points or less and Wisconsin has been in the position to win, but consistency has definitely been an issue.”Right now [our main concern] is consistency,” Stone said. “That’s a demand that we have to have in practice. We as coaches need to stay consistent and we are — I’m convinced of that. It might be that we’re intensifying things and demanding more because we know they have it, but we’re encouraged by the fact that we have what it takes.”As Stone continues to try and turn the tide, she hopes her team can be optimistic about the current losing streak and learn from it.”If you look at what we’ve gone through this entire year — we’ve been in tight games, we’ve played three ranked teams, we’ve been on the road, we’ve played on neutral courts, we’ve won big, had a big lead and let people cut into it — so what we’re experiencing right now certainly needs to pay positive dividends in the end.”Injury Report: Aside from consistency, another factor that may be playing a part in Wisconsin’s current losing streak is the amount of injuries that the Badgers have suffered as of late.Ashley Josephson missed the Marquette game (a 71-59 loss) with a hip injury, but has returned since.Kjersten Bakke returned in Sunday’s loss at Kansas after missing two games with a knee injury, but only played two minutes. Stone said she is close to completely back and could be ready for Wednesday’s game at UW-Milwaukee.Even though Janese Banks has not missed a game since enduring an eye injury on Dec. 2, her injury has clearly affected her play as she adjusts to playing with safety goggles.”I think obviously the hit in the Marquette game had an affect on Janese,” Stone said. “She sat out of practice quite a few days — she lost a little bit of timing and now we put her in a new position. She’s a young person who’s going to make some mistakes, but there certainly had to be some ill effects from the injury that has prolonged her timing in practice.”Furthermore, Stone has swapped the backcourt duties of Banks and Anderson as Banks moved to point guard Sunday and Anderson went back to the off-guard position.”[Banks] and Jolene have been out of position,” Stone said. “[I’m] not making any excuses for her, she made some poor decisions offensively, but she’s aggressive.”She’s our best defender and we’ll keep that aggressiveness going. For whatever poor decision may be made on offense, she gives us 100 percent effort defensively and that’s where you soften the blow by making up for things on the other end of the court.”Finals Break: With the dreaded finals week looming for every student on the UW campus, the Badger women’s basketball team will also have a small break from the court as they play their last game until Dec. 23 this Wednesday.Stone is hoping the break will give the team a much-needed break mentally and to heal some of the lingering injuries Wisconsin has suffered.”The break will be good due to the intensity that their mental capacity will go through,” Stone said. “Study times, weekend finals, and a lot of things [are] coming up so it does come at a good time from the standpoint of getting healed, but also give our players time to study for finals.”last_img

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