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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Badgers take on Buckeyes

Karel: Senior guard Alyssa Karel leads the team in scoring this season.

Badgers take on Buckeyes

The Wisconsin women's basketball team is ready to step out onto the court for possibly the most important game of their season so far. At the Kohl Center Thursday evening, the Badgers (8-6 Big Ten, 18-7 overall), who currently sit tied for third place in the Big Ten, face off against the conference-leading Ohio State Buckeyes (13-2, 25-3).

Ohio State has already clinched the Big Ten title this season. However, despite their commanding record, No. 7 national ranking and an offense that averages over 72 points per game (by far the most prolific in the Big Ten), losses against Purdue and Indiana have shown the Buckeyes' weaknesses.

Those weaknesses are few and far between, though. The Buckeyes boast two of the leading scorers in the conference and the nation in junior center Jantel Lavender and sophomore guard Samantha Prahalis. Both players are averaging over 16 points per game this season and pose large difficulties for any defense.

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""It's a team effort, that's the way our defense is set up,"" junior guard Alyssa Karel said. ""It's going to be the exact same thing with two scorers. Regardless of how many scorers are on the team, it's the fact that we're all going to help each other.""

Karel has been an offensive force herself this season. She currently leads the team in points with over 14 per game. Karel has also scored in double figures for the Badgers in the past six games.

Thursday night's matchup will be the second chance for the Badgers this season against Ohio State. Wisconsin opened up its Big Ten season this year Dec. 6 with a loss against the Buckeyes in Columbus, 70-55. That was the second most points allowed by the Big Ten-leading Wisconsin defense this season, and the most in regulation.

While the end result was ultimately disappointing, the Badgers showed toughness and poise throughout the first half against the Buckeyes. Wisconsin led Ohio State 28-20 at halftime of that contest. However, the Buckeyes rebounded in dramatic fashion in the second half, ultimately taking a victory from the Badgers.

""Our game plan was working real well the first half. I think once they started getting a little run, we sputtered a little bit and maybe doubted the game plan,"" Karel said.

While the Big Ten conference title is no longer up for grabs, the Badgers are still playing for a lot the rest of this season. Wisconsin is just one game out of second place in the conference, and every win, especially against a ranked opponent, could be huge for the team's possible NCAA Tournament seeding.

""We don't change a whole lot. We just try to get better at our principles,"" head coach Lisa Stone said. ""We've grown into a very fine defensive team and we're looking forward to this challenge.""

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