Following four straight losses in Big Ten play, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team finally got back on track as they took care of business on the road with a win against a struggling Illinois squad this past Sunday. Making it two in a row, however, will be an uphill battle against the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes. Prior to being handed a narrow five-point loss loss by No. 5 Maryland this past Sunday, Iowa had been riding a commanding six-game win streak.
Here are ‘three-pointers’ to know for each team going into Sunday’s matchup:
Left in the dust
In the Badgers’ last home game against a high-powered offense in Ohio State, Wisconsin struggled for the first four minutes, starting 1-7 from the field as the Buckeyes racked up a 15-2 lead and never looked back. Going up against a formidable Hawkeyes scoring attack averaging 76.9 points per game, another slow start for head coach Bobbie Kelsey’s squad could end this one before halftime.
Putting the team on her back
It took a historically great 31-point performance from Nicole Bauman against OSU to avoid a blowout. Bauman’s stat-line for the past 2 games: 18-30 (60%) shooting from the floor, including 13 for 22 (59%) from the 3-point line. The rest of the team has been averaging just 35-89 overall (39%) and 6-20 from behind the arch (30%) in those games.
The number of wins the Badgers have earned this season against teams with a winning record, with the lone victory coming Dec. 28 at home against Michigan. In all three previous games against ranked opponents this season (No. 1 South Carolina, No. 24 Rutgers and No. 16 Nebraska) the Badgers suffered double-digit losses.
Last time out
Iowa’s effort in its 93-88 loss on the road to No. 5 Maryland last week was impressive enough to voters that it actually moved them up three spots in the new rankings from 20th to 16th, and without an 8-0 run near the end of the game by the Terrapins, likely would’ve pulled off the upset win to force a tie atop the Big Ten Standings. Now that they trail by two games, expect a Hawkeye team playing with a lot of motivation.
One of the major reasons Iowa has experienced consistent success this season has been their depth on offense. The Hawkeyes boast four different players with double-digit scoring averages. While the one-two punch of guards Melissa Dixon and Ally Disterhoft have lead the way with 18.0 and 16.0 points per game in conference play, respectively, center Bethany Doolittle (14.5 ppg) and guard Samantha Logic with (11.4 ppg) provide significant scoring depth.
Although the Hawkeyes have a perfect home record over halfway into the season (12-0), they haven’t been as dominant on the road, posting just a 4-3 record away from the Carver-Hawkeye Arena going into Sunday’s matchup. The Hawkeyes are capable of playing well on the road, like in their narrow No. 5 Maryland loss and their 77-72 victory at then 16th-ranked Rutgers last month, but they can also turn in some questionable performances, including a 34-point blowout loss early in the season to then 7th ranked Louisville, and a 73-61 upset defeat on Jan. 8 to last place Illinois.
Who: Wisconsin (8-13 Overall, 4-7 Big Ten) vs. No. 17 Iowa (17-4, 8-2)
Where: Kohl’s Center, Madison, WI
When: 2 P.M.
Wear Pink: To raise awareness for Breast Cancer, students and fans are encouraged to wear pink.