After dropping their first match to conference opponent Northwestern, Marisa Moseley’s Wisconsin squad (2-7, 0-1 Big Ten) tips off against the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines (8-1, 0-0) in Madison on Thursday, Dec. 9.
The two last met this past January, with the Wolverines handling Madison’s team in dominant fashion, 69–40. With a 7-15 all-time mark and 1-13 record in their last 14 matches since January 2013, the Badgers aim to reverse their track record against the Wolverines Thursday night.
Orchestrated by Kim Barnes Arico, the most successful coach in program history with 193 victories through nine campaigns, the 2020-2021 Wolverine team went 16-6 and secured a sixth-seed bid to the NCAA tournament.
Despite falling short to No. 2 Baylor by just three points, Michigan advanced to the “Sweet 16” for the first time in its nine total tournament appearances in program history.
Through nine games this season, the Wolverines averaged 69.6 points, shot 43.4% from the field, snatched 40.4 boards and totaled 18.7 scores off turnovers per game. With a signature victory against a stout Oregon State team and their only loss to the top-10 Louisville Cardinals, the Wolverines boast a +15.3 scoring margin this season.
At the opposite end of the hardwood, UW has notched 58.1 points per contest off 39.5% from the field and 25.6% from downtown, the 61st lowest clip in the nation.
So far this season the Badgers forced 8 steals, averaged 12.1 points off turnovers and grabbed 31.4 rebounds, 332nd out of 348 qualified programs in the country. With only 14.3 giveaways per outing, the Badgers rank 62nd for fewest turnovers in the nation.
Wisconsin junior Sydney Hilliard ranks 7th among guards in the country with an impressive 55.9% efficiency from the floor. The Monroe native averages 14 points, 5 boards and 1.9 steals in 34.6 minutes of action each time out. Despite going scoreless Sunday, the aggressive guard accounts for 52 made field-goals, 18 more than any other Badger.
In 35.7 minutes per game over seven appearances, junior Julie Pospíšilová put up 14.1 tallies, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 dimes and 1.7 steals per game. With an impressive 344 total minutes logged this season, point guard Katie Nelson leads Wisconsin with 31 assists and 18 steals and forward Sara Stapleton registers 7.6 scores off 48.1% from the floor per game.
For the Wolverines senior Naz Hillmon, three-time team MVP and consensus 2021 Big Ten Player of the Year, notches 20.1 points and 8.9 boards over 31.9 minutes per match. The 6’2’’ forward from Cleveland, Ohio ranks 18th out of 250 qualified student-athletes in field-goal percentage with 60.4% efficiency from the floor. Wisconsin defense will need to monitor the skilled post player closely down low.
Responsible for a team best 24 assists and 14 steals, junior guard Maddie Nolan has racked up 7.4 points off 41% from deep and pulled down 4.4 rebounds per contest. Alongside Hillmon and Nolan, senior Emily Kiser adds 10.2 points and eight boards. The 6’3’’ forward leads the Wolverines with 10 total blocks over nine games.
Although the Badgers might not compare to the Wolverines in terms of overall record, Wisconsin could take advantage of a few Michigan deficiencies Thursday night. The Wolverines turn the ball over an average of 16.4 times each game, a 2.1 giveaway disparity compared to Wisconsin.
If the Badgers play at a faster pace and with high intensity on the defensive end, the Red and White could earn a few extra possessions against a formidable Wolverine squad at the Kohl Center.