Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers look forward

Wisconsin athletics are looking to move forward with the new year.

In a fall that saw the football team accumulate a losing record, the basketball team begin a rebuilding year and the volleyball team fall short in postseason play, seasons and teams are looking past the disappointments and toward the future.

After the football team ended its season in Minneapolis in late November, the focus immediately turned to not what had been done in the past but what will happen in the coming months.

Lee Evans was questioned about his future–would he stay at Wisconsin or forego his senior season and turn pro? Right now the question is still pending, and Evans still has decisions to make.

His decision will directly affect the depth of the football team next season.

When the Badgers reconvene for spring ball in March they will suit up a 1,000-yard runner, two 1,000-yard passers and, if Evans returns, a 1,000-yard receiver. These key players–Anthony Davis, Brooks Bollinger, Jim Sorgi and Evans–will make up an experienced offensive unit next season, one that has already fought through trials and tribulations.

They will also welcome experience on the offensive line, as both Al and Ben Johnson vowed to return to UW next season, putting off the NFL.

Defensively the Badgers should also have experience on their side. While the theme of the 2001 season was inexperience, 2002 will bring back Scott Starks in the backfield, as well as a defensive line that has seen many changes in its rotation. Ben Herbert, Wendell Bryant and Delante McGrew are gone, but Erasmus James and Jonathan Welsh are ready to step up.

The special-teams unit, the most inexperienced of UW’s units last season, will bring back many memories that should steer them in the right direction. The kickers have missed field goals and had punts blocked, but they claim to have learned from their highs and lows.

Last year was a bit of a rebuilding for the football team, and next season should improve on what is already established.

The volleyball team can take that same philosophy into next year as well, as they can learn from their disappointing NCAA Tournament loss. Last year the team learned what it felt like to lose a national-championship match, and this year they learned what it felt like to play so well all season, get into national-championship form, and then fall in the Sweet Sixteen.

Next season the team will have the feelings and emotions of this season to build on, but they will have to do it without their two leaders, Lizzy Fitzgerald and Sherisa Livingston. The two seniors played their last game in the loss to Texas A&M, and now the younger players will be looked on to continue the tradition the upperclassmen have started. Leading this corps of players are Lori Rittenhouse, Amy Hultgren, Erin Byrd, and Jill Odenthal.

While the football and volleyball teams accounted for most of the fall sports action, the men’s and women’s basketball teams and hockey team will bring UW into the new year.

The men’s basketball team kicked off their season in the fall months, debuting Bo Ryan’s new system. During the exhibition games his game plan looked impressive, with Devin Harris lighting up the floor and the offense scoring more points than were evident in Dick Bennett’s tenure. But those were only exhibition games.
With offseason losses of players, it promised to be a rebuilding year this season, and as regular season play started up, the Badgers made good on the projections.

UW struggled to find a victory in Hawaii, then blew a 20-point lead against Georgia Tech to record a loss. The team seemed to rebound against Temple, pushing the Owls to two overtimes.

This up-and-down level of play shows the youth of this team, and with another loss against Xavier recorded earlier this week, things don’t look like they’re going to change anytime soon.

What UW has to build on is the talent that has been shown on the court. Travon Davis has played well in his backcourt role, and Freddie Owens has stepped up. Kirk Penney continues to show he can light it up from outside the arc, and Mike Wilkinson shows promise inside.

With these individual talents showing that they have what it takes to lead this team, the Badgers just need to find a way to link these performances together to make a run in the Big Ten schedule.


The men’s hockey team has had an up-and-down season thus far, and the key to their success for the rest of season lies in consistency. UW swept North Dakota last weekend, yet they struggled against weaker teams like Alaska-Anchorage. With Scott Kabotoff proving himself in the net and Andy Wheeler showing the way with the leadership that comes with his captain role, the Badgers have what it takes to make an impact in the WCHA. Now they just have to do it.

Where the hope of future postseason play lies for the Badgers is in its women’s basketball team. Badgerball continues to play and defeat top-ranked teams, all the while increasing their national ranking. Wisconsin is playing well as a team, but their captains are playing even better. The trio of Kyle Black, Tamara Moore and Jessie Stomski leads the Badger team, with each of the three taking turns having big nights, all the while producing consistent numbers night after night. Their victory on Tuesday night proved the Badgers also have younger players that can step up, as freshman Ebba Gebisa sparked the team off the bench.

Badgerball is cruising past opponents and looks on pace to further its postseason finish from last year, where they lost in the first round.

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