It will be yet another quick turnaround for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team as they head off to Milwaukee to take on in state rival Marquette (6-1) on Saturday. Following a 74-59 win over Boston College in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Thursday, the Badgers (5-2) will go up against a tough Marquette squad that has lost just one game all season and sit just outside the top 25 polls. The lone loss came to second-ranked Duke.
Although the women’s side of the Wisconsin-Marquette rivalry isn’t quite as intense as the men’s side, Badger head coach Bobbie Kelsey always wants to beat teams from within the state. So far, the Badgers beat in state rival UW-Milwaukee and will play Green Bay later this month.
“You always want to beat Marquette because they’re just down the road, and they’re in your backyard,” Kelsey said. “We always look forward to playing the in-state schools, just the state bragging rights. Marquette is a very seasoned program … But it will be a good game.”
It will be the 21st all-time meeting between the two schools on Saturday with Wisconsin owning an 11-9 record in the series. The Badgers knocked off Marquette 71-68 last season at the Kohl Center.
Marquette will give the tough Badger defense a true test on Saturday, as the Golden Eagles average 81.3 points per game and are beating opponents by an average of 14 points. They are led by senior forward Katherine Plouffe who is averaging 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She was named Most Outstanding Player in Marquette’s most recent tournament, the South Point Shootout.
The Badgers have the offensive weapons to match the high-potent offense of Marquette. All five starters are averaging double figures in points. In Thursday’s game against Boston College, while starting forward Jackie Gulczynski didn’t score, Tessa Cichy came off the bench and scored 13 points.
With the Badgers playing their fourth power-six conference opponent in their last five games, coach Kelsey understands the challenges of taking things one game at a time and being able to bring intensity to each game, especially against one of your rivals.
“Marquette is a formidable opponent as well. They’ve done well in their game,” Kelsey said. “But we feel like any game we go into, we have an opportunity to win the game if we do what we’re supposed to do. We have to follow our game plan and make adjustments and match the intensity. We have to take it one game at a time.”