The Badgers’ women’s basketball team has experienced their fair share of struggles over the years as the University of Wisconsin has been unable to put together a winning season since 2011. In March of 2021, UW took a chance on Boston University’s head coach, Marisa Moseley, in hopes to turn this program around and provide a sense of pride for the red and white.
In the first year as UW’s head coach, Marisa Moseley has the program heading in the right direction as the Badgers (7-19, 4-12, Big Ten) have managed to surpass last season’s win total.
Though looking at the record may tell a different story, Wisconsin has reason to stay optimistic as Moseley is loaded with accolades and has sustained a winning record in each of the past 16 years of her brilliant coaching career.
Before her arrival at UW, she served as an assistant coach for the University of Denver, Minnesota and UConn over a 13-year span which included five NCAA Division-1 National Championships and nine Final Four appearances. Moseley was also the coach of 11 Division-1 All-Americans and three AP National Players of the Year. But it doesn’t stop there, as she helped send 14 players to the WNBA and produced seven Olympians.
Moseley landed her first head coaching gig in 2018 at Boston University where she played collegiate hoops from 2000-04. After going 26–63 in the three seasons prior to Moseley’s arrival, BU would find success under Moseley with a 45–29 record, completely flipping the script. In addition to reviving the program, Moseley won Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2019.
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Who’s to say she can’t do the same for the Badgers? Wisconsin fans can feel the anticipation in the air as the Kohl Center exceeded 6,000 spectators Feb. 6 against the Illinois Fighting Illini, something that hasn’t happened too often in recent history.
Asher Low, a Wisconsin alumni and former Big Ten Network Student U broadcaster who covered home games for Badger women’s basketball, said in an interview with The Badger Herald that “most of the weekday/night games were very, very empty unfortunately.”
With more then 6,000 fans packing into the Kohl Center Feb. 6, Low said Wisconsin’s first-year Head Coach Marisa Moseley is a key contributor to the increased fan attendance.
“There’s definitely excitement right now about the new direction of the program,” Low said.
Besides hiring a winner and experienced basketball coach, UW brought in someone who demonstrates integrity off the court as well.
During her coaching stint at Boston University, Moseley was a founding member of the Patriot League’s Anti-Racism Commission as well as a vital representative in the formation of BU’s Social Justice and Inclusion Council. While at the University of Connecticut, she was a member of the Diversity Council. Additionally, she joined the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee while coaching at the University of Denver.
UW hit the nail on the head by finding the perfect fit for its head coaching position, and I have a feeling good things are yet to come under Moseley’s leadership.
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As for the players, this team is driven by a pair of junior guards. Julie Pospíšilová is averaging an exceptional 14.0 points per game while Sydney Hilliard isn’t far behind with 12.8 points per game. Hilliard also leads the Badgers in shooting percentage (54.8%), rebounds (4.7) and steals (1.9) per game. Barring any offseason drama, both players have a chance to flourish next season under Moseley while taking on sizable leadership roles.
Another player worth mentioning is 5-foot-8-inch guard Katie Nelson, who is currently the only player on Wisconsin’s roster in her last year of eligibility. Coincidentally, Nelson transferred to UW this year after accumulating a plethora of honors while playing under Head Coach Marisa Moseley at Boston University from 2018-21.
Excluding Nelson, the Badgers have the opportunity to return all players, giving Moseley another year under her belt with this group. With more team chemistry and experience, Wisconsin has a real chance to make a massive improvement next season.
But UW refuses to give up on this season as the Badgers miraculously pulled off the largest comeback in a Big Ten Conference game in program history, erasing a 22-point deficit Feb. 13 against the Purdue Boilermakers (14-11, 5-9), defeating them 54–52. After trailing by 20 at halftime, Moseley’s team displayed true resiliency and perhaps ignited the birth of a new era in the program. After the game, Moseley tweeted:
“All I can say is this team believes in being a part of something bigger than themselves! Thank you for trusting me,” She tweeted. “Thank you Badger fans for continuing to come back! We are building something special here!! #OnWisconsin”
Patience is going to be critical moving forward for Wisconsin fans as Moseley brings hope to this program. It’s just a matter of time before she has UW firing on all cylinders and in a position to claim their first Big Ten Conference Championship.
To close out the regular season, UW will square off against conference foes Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska and Purdue before heading into the Big Ten Conference Tournament starting March 2.