The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team announced Wednesday the signing of Taylor Wurtz, a 6-foot guard from Brandon, Wis.
Wurtz, an Associated Press first-team all-state honoree last season, signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Wisconsin in 2009-10, according to UW head coach Lisa Stone.
“[Taylor] is by far, in our opinion, the best player in the state of Wisconsin in her class,” Stone said. “She is a player that can play a point guard, a two-guard, a three-guard, she can post up, [and] she can get to the basket.”
In her first three years at Ripon High School, Wurtz earned Eastern Valley Conference Player of the Year honors each year and led her team to three conference titles. After averaging 21.4 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals per game as a junior, ESPN HoopGurlz has ranked Wurtz No. 86 overall and No. 20 among guards in the class of 2009.
“[Taylor] is strong, physical — a great Big Ten body,” Stone said. “[She] is a deep 3-point shooter [and] can get her shot off very, very quickly. She handles the basketball very well … [and] has the capability of putting up very, very big numbers.”
As great as Wurtz is at scoring, Stone is very excited about all other aspects of Wurtz’s game, especially her ability to feed the ball to others and her defensive versatility.
“Her passing ability is something that really, really impressed me this summer,” Stone said. “Defensively, she matches up very well with smaller players, athletic players [and] bigger players.”
According to ESPN HoopGurlz, Wurtz is a player that can be expected to contribute right away for the Badgers, but may not have as much potential for improvement as other more athletic guards. For Stone, Wurtz’s ability to compete right away is important.
“I’m looking forward to her really step in right away as a Badger and contributing,” Stone said. “Taylor is a ready-made player. She is very, very strong; she’s physical [and] she can hold her own on the court.”
Stone also recalled the day she sat in the top row of section 222 at the Kohl Center talking with Wurtz looking down on the court. It was in that moment when Wurtz really seemed to be convinced to attend the UW.
“As we were sitting there, out walks Mariah Dunham to shoot and [Wurtz] said, ‘I can just like go out there and shoot if the court’s available?’” Stone said. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and she was really excited about that — to be able to be in that facility, go out there and shoot around in the summer time, and have an opportunity to play on such a great court in front of a lot of people.”
“It was a very moving moment,” Stone added. “The two of us sat there and just kind of visualized her future as a Badger, and it will be very bright.”
Badgers name D’Alie as captain
Wisconsin made another announcement Wednesday as the players unanimously chose junior guard Rae Lin D’Alie to be their captain for the 2008-09 season.
D’Alie, a Waterford, Wis., native, starts at guard for the third consecutive season for the Badgers and has started 66 consecutive games.
D’Alie led the Big Ten Conference two years ago as a freshman with five assists per game in conference play and 4.58 per game overall. She also set the UW freshman record with 165 assists and currently ranks 14th in school history with 272 assists.
“She has started off the season leading this team in many ways, both on and off the court,” Stone said of D’Alie. “She has a ‘bulldog’ mentality defensively and offensively is in her best shape she’s ever been.”
D’Alie is a very vocal leader both on and off the court and is known for her positive attitude. This season will be her first as team captain for the Badgers and should provide an opportunity for her to demonstrate her capabilities as a leader.
“[Rae Lin] is a very tough leader in terms of how she plays and in terms of her ability to communicate with her coaches and teammates,” Stone said. “She was selected by her teammates and [is] looking forward to taking on that challenge.”