The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team will head to Columbus, Ohio Thursday to take on the No. 16 Ohio State University Buckeyes in an attempt to bring home their first conference win under new head coach Jonathan Tsipis. The matchup will be the final one on the road in a five-game stretch in which four of five were away from Madison.
The Badgers (5-13, 0-5 Big Ten) are a little worse for the wear at the moment, losing their last three games by more than 20 points and entering Thursday with a 2-7 record in the last nine games. Their most recent competition came in a blowout at Penn State University, 76-46, in which UW racked up 23 turnovers and blew a second-quarter lead for the second straight game.
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The Buckeyes (15-5, 5-1 Big Ten) are returning home on the opposite spectrum of things, red hot and 6-1 in their last seven games. The 16th-ranked powerhouse sits only a half game behind No. 3 Maryland University in the Big Ten standings and will need a dominant win over the Badgers to stay in contention for a conference that only boasts two teams in the AP top 25.
Junior guard Cayla McMorris and fifth-year senior Avyanna Young have carried most of the offensive burden for Wisconsin as of late, providing the upperclassman leadership for a team with 10 underclassman. Despite the two’s success, they are the only players on the roster that average more than 10 points a game and currently sit at 13.7 and 10.9, respectively.
The Badgers will need to look to their younger players for production if they want to pull off the upset Thursday, and more specifically from Courtney Fredrickson. The freshman guard from Minnesota was an ESPN three-star recruit coming out of high school and has scored as many as 18 points in a game this season, but has yet to build up a consistent routine of production.
Without any surprise performances from role players like Fredrickson, the Buckeyes will lean on the scoring ability of Kelsey Mitchell to dominate this mismatch of foes. Mitchell is tied for first in the Big Ten in scoring per game, with an average of 22.7, a mark the Badgers will need to prevent her from reaching if they want to escape Columbus with a win.
The matchup tips at 6 p.m. CT and will air on BTN Plus.