Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin’s Twin Towers

[media-credit name=’PATRICK STATZ-BOYER/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]WBB_PSB[/media-credit]The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs had the original Twin Towers in David Robinson and Tim Duncan, but the UW women’s basketball team has its own Twin Towers: Danielle Ward and Caitlin Gibson.

The Badgers’ duo — both standing at 6-foot-4 — have helped guide Wisconsin to a 13-5 record so far this season with their combination of versatile offense and shutdown defense.

Ward, a junior forward from Milwaukee, leads the team in blocks (29), and is averaging nearly eight points and six rebounds per game. Gibson, a sophomore center from Jefferson, is also averaging nearly eight points as well as four boards per contest.


“They’re just two solid bookends, if you will,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “They help us both offensively and defensively. They’re getting better all the time.”

But while the results the two produce may be similar, their styles of play are quite different.

“Danielle’s fast and she can run the floor,” Gibson said. “She’s more finesse and I’m more physical. I like to pound it.”

Although they are both talented individually, teammate Jolene Anderson feels they are even better when they share the court.

“When they’re both on the floor, and they’re both clicking together, obviously it helps our team tremendously,” Anderson said. “They’re just very confident with themselves right now; they both compliment each other very well.”

With the two different styles of play — Gibson’s physical toughness and Ward’s speed and finesse — the Badgers are able to take multiple approaches down low on both sides of the ball.

“It’s a tough matchup,” Stone said. “I think it’s good when you talk about defending and changing up defense. You’ve got someone that might push you off, and you have somebody that’s really quick, so I think it’s a great compliment.”

“It just gives a new dimension,” Gibson added. “We can switch it up. Danielle’s great on the fast break, but I like to be physical down low.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Ward finds it much more gratifying to take away points from her opponent than to score points on the offensive end.

“The most rewarding for me is defense,” Ward said. “It’s good to score, but I get frustrated if I let my opponent score on me, and I feel like I won’t let them score. I think defensively, helping to get defensive stops really puts our team in the best position to win.”

Gibson also enjoys being able to help defensively, but adds that scoring points isn’t bad either.

“They’re both really fun,” Gibson said. “I like having defensive help. I like helping recover and just knowing that I’m helping a teammate and they’re going to help me back. Finishing on a hard drive is good, too. You can’t really take one away from the other.”

For Ward and Gibson, playing tough defense often means being matched up with the biggest and sometimes the strongest players on the other team. While this can often be a tall task, the duo enjoys the challenge it brings.

“I’ve just got to play smart and use my abilities,” Ward said. “Most of the players that I play against are bigger than me, and most likely stronger than me, so I have to use my agility and quickness and get around and stay loose and active.”

As the team’s more experienced post players, Gibson and Ward have relished the role of helping out the younger players on the team this year.

Stone attributes the increase in minutes of the team’s freshman post players to the leadership exuded by Ward and Gibson.

“I think they’ve really helped out a lot,” Stone said. “I think they’ve been very helpful to Ivana (Mijalcevic) and to Brittany (Heins) and to Mariah (Dunham), and helping them grow as players. Right now, Brittney and Mariah are playing a lot, and a lot of that has to do with the leadership that Danielle and Caitlin have shown them.”

Although the Badgers have been up and down since entering Big Ten competition, they still boast a winning record. With the team entering a tough stretch of the schedule, including games against Ohio State and Minnesota, the Twin Towers of Caitlin Gibson and Danielle Ward will surely be standing tall.

“We just need to come in fearless and be ready to play,” Gibson said. “When we play together, we’re really good, and it’s a lot more fun that way, too.”

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