Badgers win season opener over Charlotte in convincing fashion

After facing a tough season last year, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team (1-0) knew it was going to have to make some serious improvements if it wanted to make an impact against teams this year. However, after blowing out UW-Platteville in its lone exhibition game many were interested to see how the Badgers’ success would carry them into their season opener against UNC-Charlotte on Sunday.

Though there was a plethora of players who contributed to the Badgers’ dominant victory of 80-66 over the Charlotte 49ers (0-1), but it was sophomore forward Courtney Fredrickson who shined brightest for UW.

The 6’2’’ sophomore from Minnesota, came off the bench and served as a spark for Wisconsin.

“I was coming off the bench trying to rebound as much as I could,” Fredrickson said, “I can always control my energy. I am focusing on getting more rebounds this year consistently.”

And that she did. Fredrickson posted a career-high with 11 rebounds, while also managing to tie her career high of 18 points. The bench contributed 44 out of the 80 points UW scored against Charlotte, whereas the 49ers’ bench only managed to put up 11 bench points. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis noted that he has seen a great deal of growth and maturity in Fredrickson as she works to be more versatile this season.

However, alongside Fredrickson, Minnesota native, sophomore Suzanne Gilreath, also helped carry Wisconsin on offense. Gilreath posted 20 points off the bench and knocked down four 3-pointers. She demonstrated her ability to be more than just a 3-point shooter, though, as she gathered rebounds and helped run the fast break on multiple occasions as well. “Coach is always pushing me defensively to get better, to box out and rebound,” Gilreath said. “I want to do more for my team.”

Fredrickson and Gilreath were joined on the offensive end by the 6-foot senior guard, Cayla McMorris, who following close behind, putting up 13 points.

Though the Badgers came out strong against Charlotte, never trailing them once, Tsipis knows that there is still more to learn, and Wisconsin’s season will only get tougher.

In preparation for Charlotte, Gilreath noted that defense was emphasized in practice, and will continue to be a key point as the season progresses. Tsipis seemed to be pleased with the team’s defensive performance after UW’s win saying: “We did a great job collectively as a team of being aggressive in the first half, and a great job of sharing the basketball and taking care of it.”

The Badgers turned the ball over four turnovers in the first half, while simultaneously forcing the 49ers to turn the ball over multiple times on their end.

Even after Charlotte brought a different level of intensity in the second half, its efforts fell short because of Wisconsin’s depth.

“What we are trying to do is we have to have multiple people ready to play 20-25 plus minutes,” Tsipis said.

Moving forward, the Badgers prepare to take on Green Bay at home on Wednesday Nov. 15th. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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