Home > Uncategorized > Wisconsin extends streak to 10 with win over Marquette

Wisconsin extends streak to 10 with win over Marquette

December 14, 2008

With ten consecutive victories on its resume, the Wisconsin women’s basketball is starting to get noticed. While some of the credit for Saturday’s season-high attendance total must go to in-state rival Marquette, there’s a buzz slowly building around this Badgers squad.

“I think the buzz is that this young team is doing what nobody thought they could do,” UW coach Lisa Stone said. “”We just want to keep getting better and keep on growing.”

Those Wisconsin fans that showed up Saturday were rewarded with one of the Badgers’ best all-around performances of the season as they defeated the Golden Eagles 67-48 in the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin (10-1) once again was led offensively by sophomore guard Alyssa Karel with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting and 2-for-6 from 3-point range. The Badgers’ other starting guards also reached double digits as Rae Lin D’Alie added 14 points and Teah Gant finished with 10 points and a career-high 8 rebounds.

The Badgers once again were fueled by a hot start offensively by Karel, jumping out to a 16-3 lead and forcing a Golden Eagle timeout at the 14:28 mark.

Marquette (7-3), on the other hand, struggled mightily against the UW defense, shooting just 23.2 percent from the field and 19 percent from beyond the arc. The lone bright spot offensively for the Golden Eagles was an 18-for-21 clip from the line.

The Golden Eagles’ shooting percentage was a season low for Marquette and a season low for a Wisconsin opponent. Marquette’s 48 points was seven fewer than its previous season low – 55 points against Northwestern – and 27 points below its season average of 75.7 points per game.

“We played terrible,” Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. “We looked like our feet were in the mud. Wisconsin took advantage of it, and they are so unselfish and they’re playing well and they have a lot of confidence.”

Krystal Ellis, an all-America candidate and preseason all-Big East selection, was never able to find a rhythm on the offensive end, shooting just 3-for-12 from the field and 1-for-4 from beyond the arc. Ellis finished with a season-low seven points before fouling out – for the first time this season – in the second half.

Gant, the primary defender on the senior guard, frustrated Ellis throughout the game by guarding her close and keeping her from finding an open look.

“Every game we’re growing defensively,” said Gant. “We’ve proved that defense is what wins.”

Wisconsin took care of the ball better than Marquette with 13 assists to 12 turnovers compared to just five assists and 13 turnovers. The Badgers also outrebounded the Golden Eagles 45-36, and held a 14-3 edge on second-chance points.

The Badgers also managed to avoid something that has plagued them throughout the season – letting large leads slip and letting their opponents back in the game. UW had its largest lead of 21 points in the second half with 11:11 remaining to play. Over the final 11 minutes, MU managed to cut the lead by just two points in the end.

As defense has been the trademark of this Badgers’ squad, it’s worth noting that many offensive-minded players – such as junior Mariah Dunham – have bought into the “pack” defense mentality and stepped up their play on the defensive end.

“Being an offensive-minded person, this defense has opened my eyes to a whole different side of our performance, my performance, everyone’s performance.” Dunham said, “I never really concentrated on it [before], but you have to concentrate on it if you want to be on this team and play.”

In addition to realizing the importance of the Badgers’ defense, Dunham has begun to enjoy playing on the defensive end more as her team has had increased success defensively.

“I guess I’m trying to step up my level on defense, and yes, I think it’s fun,” Dunham said.

With the victory over its in-state rival, Wisconsin completed the sweep of all three intrastate games for the first time in more than 30 years. The Badgers’ 10-game winning streak ties for the second longest in school history and their 10-1 record ties for the third best start in school history.

“I’m very proud of our basketball team for the way we’ve started the season,” said UW coach Lisa Stone, whose team won for the 10th time in a row since losing its opener. “We’ve had continued growth and development and buying into what we’re trying to get done offensively and defensively.”

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