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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
NCAA run resumes with BC

Whitney Owusu: Defender Whitney Owusu and her fellow seniors hope tonight is not the final time they take the field for Wisconsin.

NCAA run resumes with BC


That was Wisconsin's junior goalkeeper Michele Dalton's response when told Boston College freshman phenom Victoria DiMartino has racked up 14 goals this season—tied for 15th in the nation.

Dalton's nonchalant attitude toward a No. 7 Boston College team may not be echoed by everyone else on the team, but her confidence in the team is—something senior defender Whitney Owusu pointed out is different from last year.

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""The focus and competitiveness of the team has changed from last year to this year,"" Owusu said. ""We believe that we should win each game, and that's definitely different from last year.""

Dalton, Owusu and the rest of the team have every reason to be confident after knocking out Arizona State in penalty kicks, then Central Florida 1-0 en route to Wisconsin's first Sweet 16 appearance since 1993.

""We've been playing the best ball we have all season, and we're peaking at the right time,"" Dalton said.

Head coach Paula Wilkins knows the Badgers must continue their strong play if they are to get past BC and into the Elite Eight.

""They're a very great offensive attacking team,"" Wilkins said. ""They're overall just a complete team, and in terms of each player on the team they're all technically and tactically sound.""

Not many can argue with Wilkins.  Boston College started off its season with 10 straight victories and have an impressive 18-3-2 record, including wins over Harvard and Connecticut in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Still, Wilkins believes the pressure is on the Eagles.

""I think for us, walking into this game, we're the underdogs,"" Wilkins said. ""So I think that puts a little more pressure on BC and allows us to be a little more free with what we want to do.""

With the end of Wisconsin's season on the line, Owusu said she and the three other seniors on the team have stepped up.

""We definitely are [taking the leadership role],"" Owusu said. ""We know that the end of our careers are coming up, so we just kind of want to extend that. We try to keep the team together and focused as much as possible.""

Wilkins agreed and said she believed the seniors played an integral part in developing the younger players and bringing the team together.

""I think it's always difficult when there's a transition and a lot of the younger players have more responsibility,"" Wilkins said. ""But I think the older players have done a fantastic job of encouraging them and letting them reach their potential.""

With Wisconsin's drastic improvement from 10th place in the Big Ten to third place in just one season, the Badgers' potential seems limitless. They are now only one game away from their first Elite Eight performance since 1991.

Game time tonight is set for 7 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

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