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New-look Badgers rout Warriors

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoWhen a team shoots 50 percent from the field and forces 34 turnovers on defense, it’s pretty hard to lose.That’s what happened Sunday afternoon as the University of Wisconsin’s women’s basketball team crushed Division II opponent Winona State 87-37 at the Kohl Center. The win ended the Badgers’ short-lived preseason, in which they finished a perfect 2-0.The Badgers dominated all facets of the game. They jumped out to an early 12-8 lead, followed by a 24-0 run that lasted just under 10 minutes. Winona State guard Shelby Krueger broke up the scoring drought with a pair of free throws. The Warriors didn’t hit a field goal for another four minutes.Badgers forward Danielle Ward had a game-high 21 points while shooting 9-of-11 from the field. She also chipped in on the glass with eight rebounds.Ward was not the only Badger post player to put up impressive numbers Sunday. Caitlin Gibson, Brittany Heins, and Mariah Dunham had 12, 11, and eight points respectively.”The post play has arrived,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said excitedly. “When you have [three] post players in double figures, that’s great.””[Danielle] is a quick, unbelievably fast, athletic post, and I’m more of a big, ‘sit on the block, muscle my way around’-type of post,” Gibson said.This tandem, along with Heins coming off the bench, should be a lethal combination throughout the season.Stone did say she will entertain the idea of putting all three on the court at the same time.Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Jolene Anderson had a modest eight points, but added six assists in only 24 minutes.”Jolene was very unselfish today and did a great job sharing the ball,” Stone said.Freshman Rae Lin D’Alie played well both offensively (6 points, 3 assists) and defensively (2 steals) in a starting role.The 5-foot-3 point guard applied intense on-ball pressure all game long, forcing countless Warrior turnovers, which is why Stone inserted her in the starting lineup before Thursday’s first preseason game.D’Alie is one of many impressive newcomers on this Badger squad, but the team’s depth is making it hard for Stone to solidify a consistent rotation.”I like our starting lineup right now,” Stone said. “It may be the same, and it may change.”Though a 50-point blowout can lift a team’s confidence, Stone knows her team has a lot of work to do, especially from the free-throw line, where they shot just 60 percent.However, Stone was not the only coach impressed with the Badgers’ play on Sunday. Warriors head coach Scott Ballard had no answers for the onslaught of cardinal and white.”I thought [the Badgers’] depth is probably better than a lot of people might think,” he said.Along with forcing 34 turnovers, the Badger defense compiled 19 steals and two blocks, while allowing the Warriors to grab only eight offensive rebounds.”We really focused on ball pressure and just denying reversal passes,” Gibson added. “That was really crucial for our defense. That’s how we’re going to break teams down.”Despite being on the losing end of such a lopsided score, Ballard sees some positives from the trip to Madison.”It was a great experience to come to the Kohl Center [and play in a] hostile environment,” he said.last_img read more

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