The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team couldn’t find their first win under new head coach Jonathan Tsipis with two demoralizing losses, one to Charlotte University Friday and the other to Saint Francis University Sunday.
The 103-100 loss to St. Francis was the first time the Badgers crossed the 100 point mark since 2004, but it felt like anything but historic as it also meant losing their home opener of 2016-17 season.
Even with the losses, the weekend produced several standout moments that are cause for optimism going forward for a young team under a new coach. Junior Cayla McMorris was one of those few bright spots, leading the Badgers with 13 points Friday and a career high 31 points Sunday.
The 63-45 season opening defeat to Charlotte was as demoralizing as Tsipis could’ve imagined, with the squad posting a 15.2 percent shooting percentage and 13 turnovers in the first half. The Badgers entered the locker room at the half down by 15 and, despite trimming the margin by seven in the third quarter, were unable to recover after a five minute scoring drought.
The loss to the 49’ers was a tough one to stomach for a squad that is trying to separate itself from the last place finish in the conference one season ago under former coach Bobbie Kelsey. In her five years at the program, Kelsey couldn’t reach more than five conference and 12 total wins in a season, an era that Tsipis is hoping to reverse.
Despite the offensive rebirth the Badgers witnessed Sunday in their triple-digit effort, the feeling of loss didn’t feel much better coming home. Wisconsin out-rebounded St. Francis by 20, but committed turnovers a massive 25 times to give SFU 29 extra points in a nail-bitter finish.
Mental mistakes were the headline for Wisconsin this weekend, taking them out of both wins with turnovers and discombobulated defense. If the Badgers want to reach the win column in the next three games before their big University of Nevada, Las Vegas Invitational Nov. 26, they’re going to have to get rid of their turnovers and return to fundamental Wisconsin basketball.
Tsipis and the Badgers stay in Madison for a big non-conference matchup with Butler University Sunday. The matchup will tip off at 2 p.m. CT and air on BTN Plus at the Kohl Center.