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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Previously tough defense struggles in Big Ten

Sophomore gaurd Alyssa Karel has taken up most of the scoring slack following Lisa Stone\’s dismissal of Mariah Dunham last week.[/media-credit]

Despite having lost five consecutive Big Ten games, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team remains positive this week as it prepares to host Penn State Thursday.

The Badgers’ most recent loss came Sunday night at Purdue by a 17-point margin. Despite leading the Boilermakers at home on Jan. 29 before losing at the buzzer, UW trailed for much of the first half before Purdue turned a six-point halftime lead into a 66-49 victory.

“Driving back from West Lafayette, a 4 1/2 hour drive … the mood on the bus was not sulking; they’re thirsty for it,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “It just takes one to break it open, so our focus is on the next game.”


Wisconsin, in the loss, shot just 31.1 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc. Purdue was better, but not by much, shooting 38.3 percent and 41.2 percent from 3-point range.

Badgers’ defense struggling in losing streak

Although Wisconsin remains third in the Big Ten in scoring defense at just 55.6 points per game, it’s defense has played significantly worse over the last five games, all of which have been UW losses.

Over the course of their longest losing streak of the season, the Badgers have allowed 61 points per game while putting up just 49.6 points per game over the same stretch.

It won’t get much easier over the next week as Penn State and Indiana — two good offensive teams that have beaten Wisconsin in close games at home — come to the Kohl Center,

“We’ve got to go back to doing what we do,” Stone said. “It’s time to get back on track. We’ll be tested in the full court at a very high pace with Penn State. … This will be a great measure to find where we’re at.”

One of the biggest problems the Badgers have had during the losing stretch has been an inability to control the boards. Purdue outrebounded Wisconsin 44-38 in Sunday’s game, including a 12-11 advantage in offensive rebounds.

“It’s not just the defense, it’s the fact that we’ve got to rebound the basketball,” Stone said. “We gave up nine offensive boards in the second half … that breaks your back when you play defense so hard and then they get a put back on you.”

Karel shouldering pressure on offense

Alyssa Karel has started each of the Badgers’ 24 games this season. In 20 of them, she has scored 10 or more points. For the season, she averages 13 points per game, good for seventh in the Big Ten.

With the recent dismissal of Mariah Dunham — who was the Badgers’ second leading scorer at just over nine points per game — Karel has found a lot of pressure to lead the Badgers’ offense.

“You can’t ask a whole lot more out of her,” Stone said of Karel. “She needs some help; we’ve got to find some scoring from somebody else — Alyssa’s doing all that she can.”

Without Dunham, opposing defenses have found it easier to focus on stopping Karel and forcing the rest of the UW offense to beat them. Karel still managed a game-high 16 points Sunday, but only one other player scored more than eight points for Wisconsin.

Covington stepping up with loss of Dunham

With the Badgers’ playing thin at the post Sunday as a result of Ashley Thomas being out due to sickness and the Dunham dismissal, freshman Anya Covington made the most of her 29 minutes, scoring eight points and grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds.

Covington averages just 3.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, but has reached double-digit rebounds three times this year when given extended playing time.

“Anya gets better every day,” Stone said. “She’s a leader on our team, both in the locker room and on the court … I look for her to finish out the season very strong.”

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