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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Senior guard Banks provides vocal leadership

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This season, Jolene Anderson has received as much attention as any women?s basketball player in the Big Ten. What many fail to realize is that fellow guard Janese Banks is the real heart and soul of the team. She is the vocal leader in the locker room and is as essential to the Badgers? success as Anderson, especially as of late.

In the Badgers? victory over Northwestern, for example, Anderson received most of the attention, as she scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. But with Anderson on the bench, Banks contributed 15 points, making sure Wisconsin would not surrender its big lead.

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With Anderson leading the Badgers in every offensive category on Sunday, and with most of Northwestern?s attention being focused on her, Banks made the Wildcats pay for not giving her due credit.

?Janese is a fantastic player and I think she knows her role,? Northwestern head coach Beth Combs said. ?She knows when it?s her time to shine and score, and she knows when she needs to be a defender and be exactly what her team needs from her. There are times when she has been the go-to scorer and there are times when she makes all the right decisions.?

Banks has been a team leader for all four seasons at Wisconsin, and while the media may not give her as much publicity as Anderson, Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone never fails to recognize her for her leadership qualities.

?I can?t say enough about my two leaders,? Stone said. ?Jo and Janese really took control of the game and shared the ball well with each other, and really started to show signs of what we want to see happen the rest of the way.?

Throughout her career, Banks has pressured the team to perform to its full potential. She made that clear after the team lost six out of seven games to start off the Big Ten season. With the team on a downward slope, Banks pushed the team to play with more unity and with more defensive intensity.

She has particularly displayed her leadership and defensive ability in recent games, setting the tempo for Wisconsin?s last two victories. Her teammates and opposing teams have directly attributed her strong play to the coinciding victories. Even her mere presence in the game allows everyone on the court to perform at a higher level.

?I think she was their second leading scorer, but what she does defensively for them and what she does as a presence on the floor is just be a leader for them, and that?s all she has to do,? Combs said of Banks.

The Badgers also know that without Banks contributing strong play, the Badgers would consequently play with less energy and strength on the court. With Banks putting up big numbers, it allows others, namely Anderson, to get more involved in the game and share the ball.

?They?re both playing very, very consistently right now, and you?ve got to love it; it?s the last hurrah here for them, and they?re making the best of it,? Stone said. ?We?re going to ride these two. They?re great players; they?re very talented and they come to work every day at practice. They keep this team going. When they put up numbers like that, it?s easy to ride them.?

After ending their Big Ten skid by winning consecutive games against Penn State and Northwestern, the Badgers have relied on Banks to be their anchor on defense. Though it may not be as glorified as Anderson?s scoring or putting up big numbers, Banks? defensive success is vital to the team.

?We?ve been spending a majority of our practice time working on defense,? Banks said. ?We know it?s going to continue throughout the year, and I?m OK with it if we keep getting results. If it?s going to help us win basketball games, then I?m all for it.?

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