In head coach Tsipis' second year, Wisconsin looks to build off experience and chemistry
Cayla McMorris and the Badgers cruised by the Pioneers Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
No doubt there is work to be done this season for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team as it hopes to relinquish its lost ground from its 2016-’17 season. Last season, the Badgers went 9-22, winning only three out of 13 conference games. But, despite a dismal conference record last year, the Badgers remain optimistic heading into this season.
For starters, the Badgers hope that their experience will lead to better results this year. Head coach Jonathan Tsipis said last year was like the equivalent of having “15 freshmen” due to it being his first year as head coach at UW. Now, with the effects of a rebuilding year behind them, the Badgers are determined to make some major improvements. UW gained five newcomers and also managed to keep a majority of its starters.
One improvement observed by Tsipis during the preseason is how “drills are not all new … we have upperclassmen that are able to hold their teammates accountable … and we are in a better conditioning standpoint too.” Additionally, sixth-year senior Kendall Shaw added that she has noticed an improvement in the team’s ability to communicate, which in turn has helped them to operate better as a collective whole.
Even though the Badgers will not be as deep as they were last year, they are again expected to play a variety of lineups. With this year’s lineup there may be times when there are four guards on the floor. But in those situations, Tsipis hopes the team will take care of the basketball more effectively.
Though the Badgers may not have a substantial presence down low this season due to losing Malayna Johnson to a torn ACL, their opportunity to get to the glass quickly is heightened with the abundance of girls who can play the guard position.
Still, the Badgers have high expectations for themselves heading into this season.
“I think we will continue to build on last year’s performance and just continue to contribute to more wins and be better at closing out games and things of that nature,” junior forward Marsha Howard said.
No doubt the Badgers still hold memories of last year’s performance, but they are using it to their advantage by having it serve as a reference point. Howard added that UW is also focusing on playing a more consistent brand on basketball.
“Every game is a challenge and every game we have to go out and perform to the best of our abilities,” Howard said. “So there is no underestimating any team, just going out and playing our game.”
Though the Badgers did experience some rough patches last season, individual players were still able to produce big changes to the women’s basketball program, such as sophomore guard Suzanne Gilreath who set the record for freshman 3-pointers for the university. Gilreath, though, expects to play a more well-rounded game this season.
“The bar is definitely higher for me I know, but I want to do more, not just shooting, but you know driving,” Gilreath said. “More so, just shooting more and getting more shots up and putting that ball even higher so that I know I can make some threes this season, and so I know I can do even more. I've put the work in and I’m still putting the work in.”
Gilreath plots to surprise opponents this year by turning her focus to the defensive end and hopes to rack up more steals this season.
The Badgers will begin play on Nov. 8 with an exhibition game against UW-Platteville. In the meantime, UW plans to continue to improve on ball handling, shooting and communication skills. In all, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team seems ready to show improvement this season.
“It’s a new year and clean slate,” sophomore forward Courtney Fredrickson said. “We are coming for everyone and no one should doubt us.”Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter