Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW hopes for 3-for-all

The Wisconsin women's basketball team will look to continue a trend as they face the Michigan Wolverines Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Having already beaten the No. 10 seed Wolverines (10-19, 3-13 Big Ten) twice during the regular season, the No. 7 seed Badgers (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten) will look to win the team's third matchup of the year and fifth consecutive contest.

In the first meeting between the two, UW came away with a narrow three-point victory in Ann Arbor, where four Badgers scored in double figures. The contest in Madison saw a slightly more comfortable win for the Badgers, as a 20-point effort from Janese Banks led Wisconsin to a 13-point victory.

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"We played great defense," point guard Rae Lin D'Alie said of the team's two wins. "Both of those wins were a team game. The first one, we were struggling a little bit more on offense, and our defense really came through for us. That's what we've got to rely on."

Unlike many of the other teams in the Big Ten, Michigan does not rely on any one player in particular for its scoring production. In fact, the team's leading scorer, 6-foot-6 center Krista Phillips, averages only 8.1 points per game, and no player on the team averages more than 26 minutes a game. Janelle Cooper, the team's second leading scorer, put up 19 points against the Badgers at the Kohl Center, forward Carly Benson scored 13 and Phillips added 10.

"They're extremely deep," Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone said. "They change their starting lineup almost every single game this year. It's more about us recognizing personnel than any one player getting hot. They substitute rapidly and randomly, and we can't get caught up in that. We just have to play our game."

Michigan is so deep, in fact, that all 14 Wolverines average at least seven minutes of playing time per game. With such a balanced attack and contributions from many players off the bench, the Badgers must stay on their toes on the defensive side of the ball.

"That's just a great tribute to their basketball team that everybody's contributing," guard Jolene Anderson said. "We've got to know who we're guarding and what their tendencies are and just take those away."

"That right there can be dangerous if there's not really a go-to player," D'Alie added. "If there's several that contribute, that definitely can be dangerous. We've just got to focus back to defense."

Forward Mariah Dunham feels that the Wolverines will give Wisconsin a healthy dose of Phillips in the low post.

"I think it's going to be a good matchup for us," Dunham said. "She's got great hands for being that tall, and she can also run the floor. Sometimes it seems like just because of her size, she gets the extra rebound or does some of the little things. I definitely think if we stop her and stop some of their penetration, we can come out with a W."

As is the case with any postseason tournament, regular-season records mean little. Despite Michigan's 3-13 conference record, the Badgers certainly realize the potential for any team to do well regardless of the standings.

"Michigan's playing well as of right now," Anderson said. "They're a great basketball team. Their record doesn't show what their capabilities are. We've beat them twice, but that doesn't mean anything going into the Big Ten Tournament. Anything can happen."

That anything includes an upset, which Stone and her team hope to avoid.

"The third time needs to be better because the first two we didn't play all that well," Stone said. "Michigan, on the other hand, is thinking this is the third time; it's tough to beat a team three times and all those old clichés that we have to avoid. It's a new season, and we have new life."

A win against the Wolverines would be just the second Big Ten Tournament win for head coach Lisa Stone and would move the Badgers to the second round, where they would take on the No. 2 seed Purdue.

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