Following Wednesday’s frustrating seven-point debacle to the Michigan State Spartans, Marisa Moseley’s Wisconsin squad (7-18, 4-11 Big Ten) tips off against Kevin McGuff and the Ohio State Buckeyes (19-5, 11-4 Big Ten) for the first time this season in Columbus Feb. 20.
The two last met on Feb. 10, 2021, where the Red and White, backed by four double-digit scorers and 49 total rebounds, edged out the Buckeyes, 75-70. With a 4-18 mark since 2002 and a 2-8 record over their last ten matches verse Columbus’s finest, UW aims to reverse their track record and generate early offense against another formidable Big Ten opponent.
Orchestrated by McGuff, the anchor of back-to-back Big Ten Regular Season Championship teams in 2017 and 2018, the Buckeyes score 81.8 points, shoot 47.1% from the field, seize 35.8 boards and rack up 16.7 assists per outing. Ohio State also ranks first out of 348 qualified programs in Division I competition with a 40.2% split from behind-the-arc, so Katie Nelson and Julie Pospíšilová will need to rotate quickly on the perimeter and contest any type of look Ohio State attempts to launch from outside.
Across the hardwood, UW accounts for 57.5 points per contest off 39.2% from the 39.4% from the floor and an improved 32% from deep. The Red and White distribute over 12 helpers, secure 11.3 points off giveaways, force nearly seven steals and collect 29.4 boards — the fourth-worst clip in the country. McGuff’s group posts a -0.6-rebounding margin per game, so if Halle Douglass, Brooke Schramek and Pospíšilová battle down low and on the defensive glass, the Badgers could frustrate the all-mighty Buckeyes Sunday afternoon.
Following an 11-point, five-assist performance against Michigan State Wednesday, Pospíšilová notches 13.9 tallies, snatches four boards and distributes three assists in 36.1 minutes per outing. Point guard Nelson, who remains atop the D-I leaderboard in total minutes played (951), leads UW with 87 dimes and 42 swipes. Her teammate, Schramek, earns eight points and four rebounds a night.
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Senior Taylor Mikesell, who garnered 2018-2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year nods, racks up 19.7 points, 3.2 boards and one theft over 33.3 minutes each time out. The 5’11’’ senior leads the nation in three-point field goal percentage with a blistering 50.3% mark from behind-the-arc, so UW will need to deter the sharpshooter from elevating from her spots on Sunday afternoon.
Responsible for the 46th-highest field-goal percentage in the nation (51.5%), junior guard Jacy Sheldon puts up 20.1 tallies, 3.7 rebounds and four helpers off 41.1% efficiency from outside and 86.9% from the charity stripe. Alongside Mikesell and Sheldon, junior Rebeka Mikulášiková leads the Buckeyes with 133 total rebounds.
Wednesday, the Badgers battled with a stout Spartan group until the final buzzer.
If Moseley’s girls can share the rock, collect a few extra rebounds and play with aggression on the perimeter, Wisconsin can make life difficult for the Buckeyes with just over a week remaining until the conference tournament.