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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW looking for momentum, relying on consistent defense

Junior forward Lin Zastrow is considered by her head coach to be one of the Big Ten\’s best defenders.[/media-credit]

As the final half of the Big Ten schedule opens this week, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team (15-5, 5-4) finds itself looking to regain momentum as postseason play draws closer.

Despite a tough 54-43 loss to Penn State (15-4, 7-2) last Thursday at the Kohl Center, the Badgers have lost only twice in January, as their four-game win streak was snapped against the Nittany Lions.

“Well, we’re halfway through the Big Ten season, sitting at 5-4, 15-5 overall,” head coach Lisa Stone said at her Monday press conference. “(We) still have lots of things to work on yet. We’re excited to be sitting right now in third place, but we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us.”


Regaining momentum down the stretch

Before Sunday’s loss, the Badgers were riding high with the four-game win streak, and with a victory, would have taken over second place in the Big Ten. By falling to Penn State, however, Wisconsin once again finds itself answering questions about regaining momentum.

“First of all, it starts with practice,” Stone said. “We’ve got to get back on the court and like I said, we’ve recharged and momentum is one thing, but…we didn’t execute offensively as well as we needed to against Penn State. You’re coming off a loss and now we need to learn from the loss.

“We broke the film down on Friday and had the weekend to rejuvenate ourselves and looking forward now to the second half.”

In order to build another win streak, UW will have to pick up its offensive production. Against Penn State, Wisconsin endured one of its worst offensive games of the season, posting season lows in points and field goal percentage.

In comparison, three of the four games of their win streak saw the Badgers eclipse 60 points. For the season, Wisconsin has also posted the third-best field goal percentage in the conference.

“It comes down to some details, and we didn’t execute the way we needed to on the offensive end, but the ball didn’t go in the basket,” Stone said. “Sometimes the puck doesn’t go in the net, and the ball doesn’t cross the end zone, and the ball doesn’t go in the hoop. But we’ll shore that up, and I’ve got a group of young women that are on a mission to do some things different, but it starts in practice.”

Defense continues to carry Badgers

While scoring numbers have fluctuated throughout the season, Wisconsin has seen its traditionally steady defense continue to anchor the team.

First in the Big Ten in scoring defense and third in field goal percentage defense, the Badgers have been able to win several defensive struggles.

“I’m very pleased with our defense,” Stone said. “That’s who we are. That is who we are. We are a defensive team with a mentality of servant hood, and we hope that that carries over on the offensive end.”

For the Badgers, junior forward Lin Zastrow has been especially stout on the defensive end.

While still averaging 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, Zastrow has made her presence most noticeable on defense, where the 6-foot-4 forward is often charged with covering the oppositions’ best post player.

“I look at someone like Lin Zastrow, and I think she’s the best post defender in the league,” Stone said. “I really do. She plays great post defense. Our players are very unselfish. They serve each other. If someone gets beat, there’s somebody there.”

Rebounding numbers inconsistent

In their 20 games this season, the Badgers have given up the fewest rebounds in the Big Ten. However, they have also pulled down second-fewest, averaging only 35 per game.

Against Indiana, Wisconsin will be forced to improve their focus on pulling down rebounds.

The Hoosiers are tied for fourth in the conference in rebounding, while the Badgers have struggled in that department as of late.

“We’ve got to get a little tougher on the glass,” Stone said. “I think our defense is very, very good. We’ve got to limit teams to one shot. We’ve given up far too many offensive rebounds, particularly in the Penn State game.”

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