After a tough showing in which the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (6-19, 1-11 Big Ten) battled hard on the road against one of the conference’s best, the Badgers head to enemy territory again Thursday in hopes of upsetting No. 2 University of Maryland (25-1, 13-0 Big Ten).
Without a doubt, Wisconsin has seen measured improvements in their two most recent outings, and head coach Jonathan Tsipis has to be pleased. But to go head-to-head with the conference’s top dog, the Badgers will need to figure out a way to impede the Big Ten’s deadliest scoring offense.
Slowing Maryland down might very well mean forcing the Terps to the line. They’ve been lackluster from the stripe this season, shooting 70.2 percent, which puts them behind nine conference teams in efficiency. That number is nothing to shrug off, but compared to their downright methodical shooting from the field, it’s clear the Badgers will be intent on preventing their opponents from getting any easy looks at the basket.
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Wisconsin has now scored upward of 60 points in each of their last three appearances, but turnovers have continued to be an issue on offense. They’ll need disciplined ball-handling if they’re to avoid falling victim to the squad leading the Big Ten in steals, with 11.1 per game. Not only are they stealing the ball at a conference-leading rate, but Maryland is also the Big Ten’s best rebounding defense.
In their performances against Michigan and Nebraska, the Badgers appeared to achieve the breakthrough in scoring consistency they had been desperately awaiting. Five players reached double figures in their win against the Huskers and four players hit that mark on Sunday. If they turn in a similar effort against Maryland, they won’t go down easily.
Veteran leadership like the kind Wisconsin got out of senior forward Ayanna Young, who went for 23 points and 13 rebounds in their last matchup, will set the tone for the rest of the team in meetings with dominant opponents like the Terps.
A challenge as tall as the one the Badgers face Wednesday in taking on the second-best team in the nation will be a telling disclosure of Wisconsin’s true makeup as a unit. It will be intriguing to see how they confront the tribulations that lie ahead. If their recent momentum is any indicator, this team looks like they’re ready to put it all on the line.
If you’re around and looking for Maryland things to do – the game kicks off at 6 p.m. C.T. Come cheer your favorite players on!