Badgers keyed in for postseason

Posted On Sep 17 2020 by

first_imgDespite dropping to the seventh seed in the women’s Big Ten Tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers still have a chance to do well in the role of underdog. In order to succeed and perhaps make a case for themselves for NCAA Tournament play, the Badgers will need to focus on five keys that have both helped and hurt them in the regular season.1. Overcome road woes Wisconsin was just 4-8 on the road this season. Although they struggled away from the Kohl Center, most of the road losses came in close contests aside from the team’s games against Indiana and Ohio State. The Badgers won their only game played at a neutral site this year, winning the Rebel Shootout in Las Vegas. The Big Ten tournament’s games will be held at the neutral Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, which will be a new experience for the team’s freshmen.”I think it’s going to be good,” freshman forward Mariah Dunham said. “We’ve played in a neutral place before, and we obviously came out with success. … I don’t necessarily take it as an away game. It’s more of another game to play. I’m really looking forward to it.”2. Good shot selectionIt goes without saying that if a team takes smart shots, their field goal percentage will be higher. That is what the Badgers will need to do in the tournament to make sure they get their offense rolling. While the team has shot 42 percent on the year, they have often shot less than that in defeats.Guard Jolene Anderson feels that great shot selection starts with the posts down low.”We definitely have to attack the basket, and we have to go inside,” Anderson said. “Our post players can contribute offensively and defensively. If we can get both (of those) going, then obviously us guards are gonna come through.”Dunham sees the drive-and-dish method as a good strategy for getting open looks as well.”I know a lot of teams now are going to be playing zone defenses,” Dunham said. “I think driving in and getting two defenders on you and then kicking it out for a shot is what our shot selection should be.”3. Defensive intensityAfter surrendering 103 points to an Iowa team with a losing record on Sunday, there is no question that the defense will need to step it up come tournament time. For the majority of the season, one of the Badgers’ strengths was its defense. Down the final stretch of the regular season, however, Wisconsin gave up 84 points to Iowa and 83 points to Ohio State. For success in the tournament, they must keep their opponents in check offensively.”We definitely need to erase the game on Sunday from our minds defensively,” point guard Rae Lin D’Alie said. “We didn’t come out with any defensive intensity. It definitely cost us that game.”4. Put the last three games behindIt’s always nice to have some momentum going into the postseason. Unfortunately for the Badgers, positive inertia is lacking as the team has dropped its last three contests of the season. One game in particular UW will need to try to forget about is Sunday’s high-scoring affair with Iowa, when a total of 196 points were scored between the two teams.”We did not accomplish an opportunity that we could have Sunday, but I told our team it’s not a ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ anymore,” Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone said. “(We’ve got to) put it behind us, and now we have to make up for it in yet another way.”As a result of the three-game losing streak to end the season, Wisconsin finds itself with the seventh seed in the tournament. While it is certainly not where it would like to be sitting, the team can’t dwell on it.”We’ve got to put it behind us and look at the fact that we’re still fifth in the Big Ten,” Stone said. “We’ve got 18 wins. We take the positive. … Unfortunately, we don’t have a first-round bye. We’re playing the first game, and we’re going to make the best of it.”5. Get points from a third sourceEveryone knows what Jolene Anderson and Janese Banks can do with the ball. In order for the Badgers to get rolling offensively, however, they will need someone else to step up and make some plays. The “3-D’s” of forward Danielle Ward and freshmen Dunham and D’Alie have all been able to contribute big games offensively throughout the season.Wisconsin is 15-4 when at least three players score in double-figures and just 3-7 when two or fewer players manage to score more than 10 points.”We’ve got to find the hot hand,” Stone said. “If Jolene is hot, and she goes six minutes without touching the ball, we’ve got to address things like that. Not just her, but other players. If we’re having success inside, we can go inside.”If Wisconsin can follow these five keys, look for the Badgers to be making some noise in the Big Ten Tournament and creating some of their own March madness.last_img read more