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Sunday, September 25, 2022
Seniors set to say good-bye as Wisconsin women host Hoosiers

Karel: Wisconsin guard Alyssa Karel is one of many Badger seniors that will play the last home game of their careers tonight against Indiana.

Seniors set to say good-bye as Wisconsin women host Hoosiers

For the team, Wednesday evening's game against Indiana is a pivotal match that very well could decide whether Wisconsin goes dancing again in March, or stays home.

The last time the Badgers faced the Hoosiers, Wisconsin smashed Indiana in Bloomington, claiming a 75-49 victory Feb. 6. In that contest, four Badgers racked up four individual double-digit scoring efforts, including senior guard Alyssa Karel, who collected 21. Fellow senior Lin Zastrow added 14 points of her own along with five rebounds. Both seniors, along with Emily Neal, will lace up their shoes for the last time at the Kohl Center Wednesday.

Karel says although she hasn't thought much about the idea of her career at Wisconsin quickly coming to a close, she definitely understands the idea of Wednesday being her final game in Madison.

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""It went by so quick and I can't believe it and it's just been a phenomenal experience,"" Karel said. ""I'm sad I won't be able to run out onto the Kohl Center floor anymore.""

One senior has played her final game as a Badger already, however. Forward Tara Steinbauer, who tore her ACL last Tuesday at Iowa, will now be forced to watch her team's final games as an observer. 

""As her friend, I feel awful for her,"" Karel said. ""I've played so long and the fact that we're not going to be able to end our senior season together on the court is unfortunate.""

""But she has such a great attitude about it and she's at every practice, cheering, the loudest one cheering at every game.""

Stepping up to fill Steinbauer's absence will be a mix of players. Emily Neal provided a spark in a loss Sunday against Michigan and the team expects junior Anya Covington and freshman Morgan Paige to fill in as well.

""I have to produce more on the court,"" Covington said. ""Just stepping up and doing what I need to do for the team.""

With or without Steinbauer, the Badgers face a crucial game Wednesday.  Despite back-to-back losses against Michigan and Iowa, Wisconsin remains in third place in the Big Ten. With the top five teams receiving a bye in the conference tournament, The Badgers have plenty to play for.

Additionally, while Wisconsin's recent struggles might have dimmed hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid, a win against Indiana Wednesday and a victory over Ohio State Saturday could be just enough to propel them to the Big Dance. 

For now though, the Badgers are focused solely on Wednesday's against the Hoosiers and containing Indiana's Jori Davis, who averages 19.2 points per game.

""One game at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time,"" Covington said. ""We're focused on Indiana.

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